With summer officially here, the season of grilling is underway. Perhaps due to the average American’s love of both great food and the great outdoors, grilling is a billion-and-a-half dollar industry in the U.S. Backyard barbecues reach peak popularity in the month of July, when an estimated 80 million Americans will venture out into the sun and fire up their grills.
Of course, where there’s a grill smoker, there’s fire. Cooking in the the backyard creates unique combustion threats and typically fewer fail-safes (smoke detectors, fire extinguishers) than cooking in the kitchen. Around 5,700 grill fires ignite on residential properties every year, causing as much as $37 million in property damages–not to mention dozens of injuries or worse. Summer, naturally, sees the bulk of these fires, with 43% of annual grill fires occurring during the summer months. July takes the dubious crown of being the month with the highest percentage of barbecue blazes at 17% of total incidences.
No one wants to watch their patios go up in flame, but luckily, there are several easy-to-follow tips to keep your focus on your food and not a spontaneous back porch bonfire.
Grill at least 10 feet away from your house (and anything flammable).
For safety’s sake, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests keeping those not grilling at least three feet away from the grill (including pets).
Maintain your grill before every use.
This is especially important for gas grills, which account for a 64% share of the US grilling market. This includes cleaning up the grease buildup and checking the hookups for leaks, as gas leaks are the leading cause of grill-related fires. If your gas grill is showing signs of excessive rust or malfunction, it is best to call a maintenance professional to investigate to avoid any potential gas-related mishaps down the line.
For gas grills, always turn the propane on when the grill is open.
Turning on the gas with the lid closed causes propane accumulation inside the grill which can explode when ignited. It’s also smart to make sure the valve is completely closed once you’ve finished cooking.
For gas 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.
Have a fire extinguisher handy.
This is a good rule of thumb whether you’re grilling outside or cooking indoors.
Only use your grill outdoors.
It may seem like a no-brainer but lighting a grill inside is a fire hazard. It can also cause a build-up of carbon monoxide—a deadly threat in its own right.
Grill smart—and live smarter
Maintaining your grill and keeping alert while manning it can go a long way in preventing a nice dinner from turning into a disaster. With nearly half of all home fires being cooking-related, it certainly pays to take preventative measures to protect your home—and your family’s safety. Keeping updated fire extinguishers on hand can help to limit a fire’s spread. Meanwhile, a professionally-monitored security system complete with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can alert the fire department post-haste to a fire-related situation. If you’re planning on cooking out this summer, be smart with your grill—and be even smarter by protecting your home with a comprehensive life safety system by EPS Security.