Outdoor grilling had a boom in popularity during peak pandemic years. Even when faced with higher food prices, consumers continued to grill out. And outdoor grilling is still a popular summer activity, with the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association reporting that 68% of American grill owners cook out on the Fourth of July.
Unfortunately, each summer season also brings numerous home fires and burn injuries associated with outdoor grilling activities. A study of residential fires by the National Fire Protection Association reported:
- In 2018, about 16,600 patients went to emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills.
- 9,600 home fires are started by grills each year, on average.
- Overall, propane gas hose leaks and breaks were factors in one of every five reported gas grill fires.
A few simple tips and reminders to help you navigate the grilling season safely:
- Read the instructions and owner’s manual. If you don’t have instructions or a manual, go to the manufacturer’s website or call their customer service number to obtain a copy.
- Use the grill as it was intended – for outside use only and in a well-ventilated area.
- Place the grill well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Remain with the grill while it is fired up and keep both children and pets away from the area.
- Make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
- Use a leak detection solution when you refill the propane tank or connect the fuel line at the start of the season to ensure that connections are tight and leak free.
- Keep the grill clean and check for grease and fat in the drip pans before firing up the grill.
- Use only charcoal starter fluid to start a charcoal fire – never gasoline – and read the directions on its use and storage.
- Dispose of hot coal ash properly to prevent burns or fires and handle ashes only after they are completely cooled.
Along with your grill instructions and operating manual, numerous websites offer more information to help you enjoy your cookout and grill safely.
- National Fire Protection Association, Grilling
- The Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association
- The Propane Education and Research Council
So fire up your grill safely and enjoy the results!
This loss control information is advisory only. The author assumes no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article.