As barbecue season nears, grill masters are reaching for their spatulas, eager to usher in the long-awaited cooking season. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) urges grillers to be particularly mindful of cooking safety in the spring and summer months, when grilling fires most often occur.
According to NFPA’s latest “Home Grill Fires” report, three out of five households own a gas grill, which means a lot of great food and family times. But, it also means there’s a notable risk of home fires. From 2009 – 2013, an annual average of 8,900 home fires involved grills, hibachis or barbecues, and almost half of all grilling injuries involved thermal burns. Although many (nearly half) of grillers do so year-round, grilling fires peak in July, followed by May, June and August.
While gas grills cause more home fires than charcoal grills, NFPA reminds everyone that all types of grills pose a risk for fires and burn injuries. According to the report, over one-quarter (27 percent) of home grill fires started on an exterior balcony or open porch, another 27 percent started in a courtyard, terrace or patio, and eight percent began in the kitchen.
“As friends and families get ready for the grilling season, make sure the grill is working properly, and review safety tips,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy for NFPA. “The leading causes of home grilling fires are failing to properly clean the grill or having a flammable object too close to the grill. It’s also important to check the grill for damage before using it for the first time each year, and then to check it regularly.”
NFPA suggests the following tips for grilling:
-Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
-The grill should be placed away the home or deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
-Children and pets should be at least three feet away from the grill area.
-Keep your grill clean by removing grease and fat buildup from the grates and trays below.
-Never leave your grill unattended.
For additional information and resources including tips for outdoor cooking with portable grills, visit www.nfpa.org/grilling or download NFPA’s safety tip sheet on grilling for easy access.