Summer is peak season for grilling, but also prime time for grill related accidents, injuries and fires. Prevent grilling accidents by taking some simple precautions. The grilling safety tips below will ensure you cook only your burgers — and not your house — the next time you fire up the grill!
- Only use propane and charcoal BBQ grills outdoors.
- Place the grill away from your home, deck, railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from the grill area.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grill and in trays below the grill.
- Never leave your lit grill unattended.
- Check for rust damage in metal grills, which may make it possible for charcoal to fall through onto surfaces below and cause a fire.
- Do not use gasoline to start your fire.
- If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to an open flame.
- Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
- Use an extension cord for electric charcoal starters.
- When finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.
- Check your grill’s hoses for leaks before using it for the first time each year.
- Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If you have a leak, and it will not stop after the grill and gas is turned off, call the fire department. If the leak stops when the grill and gas are turned off, replace your hoses or have your grill serviced by a professional.
- Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
- Never turn on the gas when the lid is closed. The gas may build up inside, and when ignited, the lid could blow off and cause injuries or burns.
- If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.
- If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 5 minutes before re-lighting it.
- After cooking, make sure you completely close the valve on your gas grill.
- Do not keep a filled propane tank in a hot car or trunk. When getting containers refilled, make that your last stop before going home.
- Store propane tanks in an upright position, and never indoors.
Grilling Fire Facts
According to the National Fire Protection Association, seven out of every 10 adults in the U.S. own at least one outdoor BBQ grill or smoker.
In 2014-2018, fire departments went to an annual average of 11,900 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues per year, including 7,000 structure fires and 4,900 outside or unclassified fires.
- July is the peak month for grill fires, followed by June, May and August.
- An average of 19,700 patients per year went to emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills. Nearly half of the injuries were thermal burns, including both burns from fire and from contact with hot objects.
- Children under five accounted for an average of 2,000 of the contact-type burns per year. These burns typically occurred when someone, often a child, bumped into, touched or fell on the grill, grill part or hot coals.
- Gas grills were involved in an average of 10,600 home fires per year, Leaks or breaks were the primary problem with gas grills.
- Charcoal grills were involved in 1,300 home fires per year.