BBQ Safety

Did you know that May is National BBQ month? Burgers are a favorite—whether vegi or beef—but unfortunately, barbecue safety is even more important. Fire departments respond to more than 10,000 incidents per year related to the home BBQ setup. Reviewing grill safety is essential year-round, but especially so during prime barbecuing months.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in one quarter of reported fires, the BBQ grills had not been recently cleaned. Additionally, more than one quarter of BBQ fires started on a porch or balcony. And propane grills accounted for 85% of all fires.

The stats

The grilling statistics are chilling, indeed. Annually, approximately:

  • 10,000 burns are treated
  • 20,000 people visit the ER
  • 150 people suffer serious injuries
  • 10 people die
  • and upwards of $37 million in damages accrue.

Making sure grills are in proper working order is essential for property owners, community associations, and those in city homes. Follow these steps to ensure a safe and enjoyable grilling season:

General BBQ safety tips

  • Grill outside, ten feet from the home
  • Don’t grill on porches or decks with roofs
  • Don’t grill on a fire escape or second-floor (or higher) balcony
  • Invest in a fire extinguisher and keep it nearby
  • A bucket of sand is also handy to have nearby to put out flames
  • Grill responsibly—nix the alcohol while cooking and tuck those clothes in
  • Call 9-1-1 in the event of a fire

Maintenance for gas grills

  • Get to know that owner’s manual so you keep that grill humming right
  • Look for leaks! Use a little soapy water on the connections and look for bubbles when the gas is turned on. Do not use the grill without fixing the leak.
  • Make sure all connections are secure before lighting
  • The tubes leading to the burners must be free of any blockages (from grease or even insects)
  • Clean that grease trap after each grill session

Charcoal grill tips

  • Only use charcoal starter fluid—not lighter fluid, gas, or kerosene
  • Because of the risk of CO2 poisoning, only use charcoal grills in well-ventilated places
  • Wait two days before disposing of used ashes and briquettes

Taking the time to keep barbecues safe will go a long way in avoiding needless injuries and costly claims to property owners.