Grilling Safety Tips from NFPA

Don't make a bad safety mistake this summer, the association advises.

Summer bring the peak outdoor cooking season to North America, with U.S. grill masters "reaching for their spatulas, eager to usher in the long-awaited cooking season," notes the National Fire Protection Association, which is already asking grillers to follow smart cooking safety precautions. NFPA's most recent "Home Grill Fires" report indicated three out of five households own a gas grill, and from 2009 to 2013, an annual average of 8,900 home fires involved grills, hibachis, or barbecues and almost half of all grilling injuries involved thermal burns.

Grilling fires peak in July in the United States, followed by May, June, and August as the months with the highest numbers.

All types of grills pose a risk for fires and burn injuries, NFPA reports, adding that 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 8 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 offers these tips for grilling safely:

  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
  • The grill should be placed away from the home or deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Children and pets should be at least 3 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 more information and resources, visit www.nfpa.org/grilling.

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