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Food, fun…and fire? Grilling safety tips for your next backyard barbeque


When the warmer weather hits, there’s nothing better than the smell of food on the grill.

Seven out of every 10 adults in the U.S. have a grill or smoker, which translates to a lot of tasty meals. But it also means there’s an increased risk of home fires.

In 2014-2018, fire departments went to an annual average of 8,900 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues per year, including 3,900 structure fires and 4,900 outside or unclassified fires.

A grill placed too close to anything that can burn is a fire hazard. They can be very hot, causing burn injuries and property damage.

Follow these simple tips for safe grilling all summer long:

  • Use and store grills outdoors at all times. Grills should never be used or stored indoors or in enclosed areas such as a garage, enclosed porch, or breezeway
  • Keep the grilling area clear. While cooking, position the grill away from your home’s exterior, away from porch or deck railings, and out from underneath eaves, awnings, and overhanging branches
  • Keep kids and pets at arms length. Children and pets should remain at least three feet away from the grill area at all times.
  • Clean your grill regularly. Remove grease or fat buildup from the grates and in trays below the grill to avoid potential risk of grease fires or spills.
  • Man (or woman) the grill at all times. Never leave your grill unattended while it’s lit.
  • Open the lid before you light. Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.

Charcoal Grills:

  • Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids directly to a fire. If using a starter fluid, use only one made for charcoal grills.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • If using an electric charcoal starter with an extension cord, be sure it’s a cord made for outdoor use.
  • When finished grilling, let the coals cool completely before disposing in a metal container.

Propane Grills:

  • Check for gas leaks at the start of each year. Here’s how: Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. If the hose has a leak, it will release bubbles from the hose.
  • If your grill has a gas leak and there is no flame, turn off both the gas tank and the grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move or touch the grill.
  • If the flame goes out while cooking, turn both the grill and gas off and wait at least 5 minutes before re-lighting it.

For more grilling safety tips and facts, visit the National Fire Protection Association website.

If you’ve experienced a fire loss, Rochester Fire Restoration can help you restore and rebuild your property quickly and safely. Contact us today!