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Directorate of Public Works

Tips for cooking outdoors this summer

Joint Base Lewis-McChord Fire Prevention

Published: 02:21PM June 14th, 2018
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Directorate of Public Works / 2017

Only above ground, commercially purchased fire pits are allowed on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. When used, they must be at least 15 feet away from the home and not under awnings.

With the extended day light, we find ourselves outdoors more. But we still need to ensure the fire safety is part of our thinking.

Cooking is still the number one cause of fires in homes in the U.S. The National Fire Protection Association reports that an average of 9,600 home fires were started by barbecue grills. More than 16,000 people are treated in the emergency rooms from cooking fires annually — half suffering thermal burns.

The following are tips to prevent cooking fires:

• Use the grills outside, never inside the house or garage.

• Keep children and animals at least 3 feet from the grill.

• If using a gas grill, check for leaks with soapy solution before igniting.

• When using charcoal, only apply starter fluid before putting match to it.

• Never leave a grill unattended.

• Before leaving the grill unattended when finished, the coals should be cold to the touch.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s regulations require all grills and authorized outdoor pits be at least 15 feet from any structure.

Washington state has may interesting and unique camping sites available. Be sure to research your camping area before arriving. There are many different fire safety requirements per camp sites.

Using a motorhome or a travel trailer presents some unique issues when camping. Like homes, the most common area for fires to start in motorhomes and travel trailers is in the kitchen. Ensure you have two ways out for emergencies.

Ensure the smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms and fire extinguishers are working properly. Ensure only qualified mechanics work on your recreational vehicles.

With camping may come camp fires. Open fires are not authorized on JBLM except in approved outdoor pits.

Check for burn bans, and never have a camp fire on wind and dry days.

Keep children and animals away. Never use flammable liquids to start a camp fire.

NFPA reports that 3,700 grass fires are started annually by an illegitimate outdoor fireplace or fire pit.

Digging holes for bonfires are not allowed on JBLM. Only above ground, commercially purchased fire pits are allowed on JBLM.

Fireworks, including sparklers, on JBLM are not authorized with the exception of those approved by the JBLM Garrison commander — like the fireworks display for JBLM’s annual Freedom Fest.

More than 18,000 fires reported are caused by fireworks annually, according to the NFPA. An average of 10,500 firework related injuries are seen in emergency rooms each year.

Sparklers alone account for a quarter of the reported injuries. People don’t realized the average sparkler creates 1,200 degrees.

Those who live off the installation should consulted with their local jurisdiction for the use of fireworks. People going to one of the local Indian reservations to purchase fireworks should check were they can used before purchasing them.

About one in four fires started by fireworks each year are reported on July 4.

For more information, call the JBLM Fire Prevention office at 253-966-7164.