Although gas grills are used roughly 1.5 times as often as charcoal grills, they are involved in five times as many fires. The key to not becoming a statistic is following some simple grilling safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
According to the NFPA, 28% of the home structure fires involving grills started on a courtyard, terrace or patio and 28% started on an exterior balcony or open porch. The National Fire Prevention Code and CCFR prohibit all open flame cooking appliances on decks and patios of multi-family structures.
- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
- The grill should be placed well away from the home (at least 10′), deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
- Never leave your grill unattended.
- If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
- Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
- There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
- When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing of in a metal container. Never dispose of coals in a trash dumpster, where they can smolder for days!
Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and 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 the grill.