Grilling Tips: How to Stay Safe At Your Summertime Barbecue

As we start to think about what to put on the grill, it’s also important to consider how to stay safe while we’re grilling. According to the National Fire Protection Association, about 7,900 home fires per year involve gas grills and about 1,300 home fires involve charcoal or other solid-fueled grills. Most fires involving grills happen in July (17%) followed by May (14%) and June (14%).

Here are a few tips to help you and your family stay safe this grilling season:

1. Keep grills well away from your home. This includes porches, carports and garages. Experts recommend keeping grills at least 10 feet away from the home, but they agree the farther away the grill is the better. Also do not use grills under wooden overhangs, eaves or overhanging branches.

2. Keep your grill clean. Grease and fat build-up on the grill can add fuel to the fire. Grease can be a primary source of flare-ups.

3. Don’t leave the grill unattended. Fires can double in size every minute they are not noticed.

4. Keep the lid on your gas grill open before you turn it on. If the lid is closed, gas can build-up inside the grill and cause a fireball to explode in your face when you open the lid.

5. Keep children and pets away from the grill area.

6. Remove all decorations - such as hanging baskets, pillows and umbrellas - away from the grilling area. They may look pretty, but they will only add fuel to the fire.

7. Keep a fire extinguisher close and be sure you know how to use it. If you don’t know how to use one, or do not have one, call 911 immediately. Most injuries involving a grill occur when people try to fight the fire themselves instead of calling for help.

8. Have a small spray bottle close. For minor flare-ups, a quick spray of water can instantly distinguish the fire.

9. Check for gas leaks. If you’re using a gas grill, check to make sure no gas is leaking from your grill. To do this quickly, rub a solution of half liquid dish soap and half water on the hoses and connections. If large bubbles form when the gas is turned on (with the lid open), then you have a leak in one of your hoses or your connection is not tight enough.

10. Don’t overload your grill with food. Too much food on the grill can double the amount of grease and fat dropping on the fire. This can cause a big flare-up, which could result in a fire.