On average, 10,600 home fires are started by grills each year. Approximately 20,000 patients go to the emergency room each year for injuries involving grills, totaling upwards of $37 million in damages. As the weather heats up and summer barbecues commence, don’t become a statistic. Share these simple tips for safe grilling with your property-owning insureds.
- Grill outside, at least 10 feet away from any structures: Propane, gas, and charcoal grills are designed strictly for outdoor use where there is plenty of ventilation. In an enclosed space, the toxic fumes from the grill have nowhere to go and can poison those around it. Likewise, nearby combustible materials can catch fire quickly and easily. Keep the grill as far away from structures and obstructions as possible.
- Keep the grill clean: According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), grills have not been cleaned in one quarter of reported BBQ fires. Barbecuing causes grease and fat to build up on grills, and if not cleaned, it can then act as fuel and catch fire while the grill is in use. Clean you grill after each use and empty the grease tray when it begins to fill up.
- Check for gas leaks: When the grilling season begins, thoroughly check over your grill for leaks in the gas lines— especially if your grill is stored inside during the winter months. A leak can cause propane or natural gas to build up inside the grill when the lid is closed. Remember to always open the grill before lighting it.
- Have a spray bottle of water handy: Fat often drips from meat as it cooks, which can cause small flames to ignite. In the event of a minor flare up, keep a spray bottle handy so you can spray it with water to instantly quell the blaze.
- Keep a fire extinguisher within arm’s reach: If a fire does break out and the spray bottle is not enough, you will need a fire extinguisher. If you are unsure of how to use the fire extinguisher, then call 911 immediately and do not waste your time fiddling with it. Many deaths occur when people try to fight fires themselves instead of calling for expert help.
- Never leave your grill unattended: Fires grow at an exponential rate. Stay by your grill while it is in use or arrange for another adult to watch if you must leave.
- Wear appropriate clothing: Clothes that dangle can catch fire easily when near an open flame. Be sure to dress yourself in garments that will not interfere with the cooking process. In the event a piece of clothing does catch fire, refer to the age-old stop, drop, and roll adage to extinguish the flames quickly.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grilling area: Nobody wants to see Fido ablaze. Keep precocious little things out of trouble by keeping them away from the grill.
- Leave the drink inside: Alcohol is highly flammable so keep it away from the grill.