When warmer weather hits there is nothing better than the smell of food cooking on a grill. Like anything fun, cooking on a grill brings with it its own set of challenges and risks, including home fires. Most of us probably think that because we have been grilling for years that we know how to grill safely and yet every year there are an alarmingly high number of fires and injuries related to grilling. Between 2014-2018 fire departments went to an annual average of 8,900 home fires that involved grills, hibachis or barbecues per year. During that same time period an average of 19,700 people per year went to an emergency room because of injuries related to a grill. Here are some tips to avoid becoming a grill fire statistic.
- Only use grills outside. This may seem like a no brainer but many fires have been started when people have been grilling in courtyards, terraces, open porches or exterior balconies. These should be avoided as well.
- Make sure your grill is placed away from your house, not under any eaves or over hanging branches.
- Keep kids and pets at least 3 feet away from the grill. Children under 5 account for 39% of contact burns each year.
- Clean your grill regularly by removing grease or fat buildup from both the grill and in trays below the grill.
- Never leave your grill unattended.
- When using a gas grill make sure the lid is open before lighting it.
- Wear the right clothes. Be sure that your sleeves or apron (if you are wearing one) don’t dangle too close to the flames.
- Be ready to put out a fire by having baking soda nearby for grease fires, and a fire extinguisher or sand available for all other types of fire.