Grilling is as much of an American past-time as baseball, and summer is the prime time for a backyard barbecue. It’s also the prime time for grill-related fires, per a study by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The summer months account for 43% of grill fires, with July leading the way at 17% of incidents.
To avoid turning your neighborhood block party into a blazing inferno, consider following these tips to keep your summer shindigs accident-free:
- Maintain your grill before every use. This includes cleaning up the grease buildup and checking the hookups for gas leaks on propane grills. Gas leaks are the leading cause of grill-related fires. If your gas grill is showing signs of excessive rust or is not functioning properly, it is best to call a maintenance professional to investigate to avoid any potential mishaps down the line.
- Grill at least 10 feet away from your house (and anything flammable). The NFPA suggests keeping those not grilling at least three feet away from the grill (including pets).
- For gas grills, always turn the propane on when the grill is open. Turning on the gas with the lid closed causes it to accumulate inside the grill, which can explode when ignited.
- Have a fire extinguisher handy. This is a good rule of thumb for general household fire safety.
- Only use your grill outdoors. It may seem like a no-brainer, but lighting a grill inside is a fire hazard and can potentially lead to a build-up of deadly carbon monoxide.
- For propane grills, stop grilling immediately if you smell propane while cooking. Do not touch or move the grill. Step away from the grill and call the fire department immediately.
- Make sure to close the valve completely on gas grills after each use.
For an extra layer of protection, be sure to check the smoke and CO detectors on your home security system. Summer is a great time of year to change those batteries, too—and they should be changed out at least once a year.