Summertime is grilling time! Whether you use gas or charcoal, cookouts combine all the best of the season: the great outdoors, good company and tasty flame-grilled dinners. But too often these gatherings wind up with a trip to the emergency room and costly repair bills because homeowners did not follow some simple safety rules.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, fires caused by grills on residential properties result in more injuries and higher dollar losses when compared to all other fires. The NFPA reports that between 2011-15, fire departments responded to 9600 home fires involving grills, resulting in $133 million in property damage, with the majority of these fires happening during the summer months — the peak month for occurrence being July.
NFPA’s Top Causes of Grill Fires
- Not cleaning the grill before use.
- Locating the grill too close to the home or other flammable items, such as hanging plants, railings or umbrellas
- Leaving the fire unattended
Tips to Prevent a Grill Fire:
- Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and read the owner’s manual before using. Misuse of equipment accounts for nearly 30% of all grill fires.
- Never grill indoors or in a confined space. Carbon monoxide fumes from the grill can be deadly.
- Keep an extinguisher nearby.
- Clean the grill before use as grease can build up and cause a fire.
- Place the grill 10 feet or more away from any structures, walls, railing, and other flammable items.
- Never leave the grill – or any fire – unattended.
- Properly store and maintain the grill during the offseason:
- Check hoses for cracks, holes, and blockages.
- Turn off valves to propane tanks and ensure that the tanks are stored outside and away from the home.
- Check for gas leaks in the connecting hoses by pouring a solution of 1 part water and 1 part liquid dish soap along the hose. Bubbles indicate a gas leak.