With the summer season officially here, backyard chefs everywhere are dusting off their grills, eager to spring into the long-awaited barbeque season. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that grillers pay particular attention to safety in the spring and summer months when home fires involving grilling incidents occur most often.
Three out of five households own a gas grill, according to NFPA’s “Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment” report, which translates to a lot of tasty meals. But it also means there’s an increased risk of home fires. Each year an average of 8,800 home fires are caused by grilling, and close to half of all injuries involving grills are due to thermal burns. While nearly half of the people who grill do so year-round, July is the peak month for grilling fires followed by May, June and August.
NFPA provides grilling fire safety tips to consumers
While gas grills contribute to a higher number of home fires overall than their charcoal counterparts, NFPA reminds everyone that all types of grills pose a risk for fires and burn injuries. More than one-quarter (27 percent) of home structure grill fires started on a courtyard, terrace or patio, while 29 percent started on an exterior balcony or open porch, and six percent began in the kitchen, according to the report.
“As friends and families prepare for a fun grilling season together, be sure the grill is working properly and review safety tips,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy for NFPA. “Propane gas hose leaks or breaks were the leading factors contributing to gas grill fires. It’s good practice to check for damage before using the grill for the first time each year, and to clean and check the entire grill regularly.”
NFPA offers tips for checking damage to propane tank hoses before using.
When grilling, NFPA suggests the following:
- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
- The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grates and in the trays below.
- Never leave your grill unattended.