Grill Safety

Home Inspector with A2Z Home Inspections

It's beginning to look a lot like summer in the Poconos! Everyone is tuning up their grills gas and charcoal alike. We all need to remember a few simple safety measures to ensure a safe, happy grilling season.

Here are a few tips from the
National Fire Protection Association:

Facts & figures
• 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 grills have a higher risk than gas grills of death due to fire or unvented carbon monoxide; most of these deaths do not involve fire.
• 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 grill 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.
• Structural member or framing, wall coverings, exterior trim, and plants are the leading items first ignited in home structure or outdoor charcoal grill fires.
Source: NFPA’s One-Stop Data Shop

Safety tips
• Gas and charcoal BBQ grills must only be used outdoors. If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces, such as tents, they pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to toxic gases and potential asphyxiation.
• Position the grill well 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 three-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.
Charcoal grills
• Purchase the proper starter fluid and store the can out of reach of children, and away from heat sources.
• Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited, and never use any flammable or combustible liquid other than charcoal starter fluid to get the fire going.
Propane grills
• Check the gas 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 determine your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame:
o Turn off the gas tank and grill.
o If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
o If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.
o If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the grill.
o Use only equipment bearing the mark of an independent testing laboratory. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions on how to set up the grill and maintain it.
o Never store propane gas cylinders in buildings or garages. If you store a gas grill inside during the winter, disconnect the cylinder and leave it outside.
A final word about cookouts: Propane and charcoal BBQ grills must only be used outdoors. If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces, such as tents, they pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to toxic gases and potential asphyxiation.

Comments (3)

Ted Tyndall
Davidson Realty Inc. - Saint Augustine, FL
I will help You find the Home YOU want to Buy

Chris, good article to post for this time of year.

May 21, 2010 08:55 AM
Chris Duphily
A2Z Home Inspections - Stroudsburg, PA
Stroudsburg PA Home Inspector

Thank you Ted, its something we all need to be reminded of especially with Memorial day fast approaching.


All the best to you and yours

May 26, 2010 02:16 PM
Not a real person
San Diego, CA

I think my grilling days are now behind me. The restaurants I patronize do such a better job than I do. LOL

Jun 29, 2010 01:19 AM