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Grilling Safety Tips: Prevent Fires at Your Summer Cookouts

Many of us look forward to firing up the grill for a backyard barbecue during the summer months, but it’s important to keep in mind that this fun tradition is accompanied by many serious hazards. Read on for grilling safety tips to help protect your family, guests, and home.

Grill-related incidents cause thousands of home fires per year. On average, these fires result in 160 injuries, 10 deaths, and over $100 million in property damage annually.

More than 80 percent of the grills involved in the reported fires were fueled by gas, and the leading causes include unattended grills, failure to clean the grill, and grills placed too close to flammable structures or objects.

Prevent fires by following these grilling safety tips:

  • Never grill indoors, including inside your garage. When choosing a location for your grill, select a spot at least 10 feet away from your home, deck railings, and other structures. Check for overhanging branches and other plants or bushes that may catch fire if exposed to heat.
  • Before using your propane grill for the first time of the year, check the tank hose for gas leaks. The National Fire Protection Association recommends brushing or spraying soapy water on the hose. Turn on the tank and watch for bubbles, which signify a leak. If bubbles appear, turn off the tank and check the connections. If the leak is still present after you’ve resolved any potential connection issues, do not use your grill until it has been given the OK by a professional.
  • Never leave your grill unattended. A fire could occur even if you’ve taken all of the necessary precautions, and wandering children or pets could suffer serious burns and injuries in an instant. Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
  • If you begin to smell gas while you’re grilling, turn off the burners and tank. Clear any family members or guests from the area and contact your local fire department immediately if the smell continues after the grill has been turned off. Have your grill looked at by a professional before using it again.

Fire isn’t the only hazard associated with grilling. Follow these tips to keep foodborne illnesses from ruining your summer cookouts.