Grill Safety

Grilling Safety Regulations
Food sizzling on the grill is a welcome sight at family cookouts. Grills are a great way to cook food but they also present significant dangers unless you use them with proper caution. Read the grilling regulations.

Grill on the Patio
In 2002, gas and charcoal grills caused 900 structure fires and 3,500 outdoor fires in or on home properties, resulting in a combined direct property loss of $30 million. Gas grills have a higher fire risk than charcoal grills; leaks and breaks are the leading cause, accounting for nearly half of gas grill fires. Gas-fueled grills caused an estimated 600 home structure fires and 3,200 home outdoor fires in 2002.

Charcoal-fueled or other solid-fueled grills caused an estimated 300 home structure fires and 300 home outdoor fires in 2002. Placing combustibles too close to heat, and leaving cooking unattended, are the two leading causes for charcoal grill home structure fires. Half of all gas grills and charcoal grill home structure fires begin on an exterior balcony or unenclosed porch. Gas fuel is the leading item first ignited for home outdoor gas grill fires.

General Grilling Safety Tips
  • Position the grill at least 10 feet away from siding, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area: declare a six-foot "safe zone" around the grill.
  • Put out several long-handled grilling tools to give the chef plenty of clearance from heat and flames when flipping burgers.
  • Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.
  • Never discard hot coals into anything except a closed, non-combustible container.
  • Have a fire extinguisher near by.
  • Do not allow your grill to block any exit or pathway.
  • Never use either a propane and charcoal grills indoors or in any enclosed spaces, such as garages and/or tents, because they pose both a fire hazard and the potential for asphyxiation by exposing occupants to toxic gases.
Charcoal grills
  • Use the proper starter fluid and store the can out of reach of children, and away from heat sources.
  • Never use gasoline or kerosene as a fire starter!
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited.
Propane grills
  • If you have a propane grill, check the propane cylinder hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. A light soap and water solution applied to the hose will quickly reveal escaping propane by releasing bubbles.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the grill.
  • Follow the manufacturers' instructions on how to set up the grill and maintain it.
  • Never store propane cylinders in buildings or garages. If you store a gas grill inside, disconnect the cylinder and leave it outside.
  • Don't let a fire caused by a grill make your family barbecue memorable for all the wrong reasons.
Stay cool when things heat up!
In the event that you do have a fire due to grilling, follow these steps:
  • Put a lid on it. Cover the grill with its lid. If using an lP gas grill, also shut the cylinder valve.
  • Call 911. Let the fire department check everything over.
  • Sound the alarm. Activate the building's fire alarm to ensure everyone gets out ok.
  • Get out - stay out. Leave the area immediately and don't let anyone back into the area.