It is officially a picnic season, and due to warmer weather, there’s a lot of outdoor grilling going on every where to savor the summer. Although outdoor cooks’ focus tends to be on what’s cooking, grill fire safety should also be bear in mind.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), from the year 2003 to 2006, gas-fueled grills were involved in approximately 81% of reported home grill fires and in 6,400 home fires in the U.S., which includes structure and outside fires. Also, charcoal and other solid-fueled grills were involved in 16% or 1,300 of home grill fires.
In 2007, up to 9,600 people was hospitalized because of thermal burns caused by grills. About one-third of the burns from gas grills occurred during grill lightning. Gasoline, lighter fluid, and flammable substance was primary involved in roughly one-quarter of charcoal or wood grill burns.
Children below the age of five accounted for around one-quarter of thermal grill burns. Majority of these incidents occurred when the child accidentally touched or bumped the grill.
NFPA offers the following grill safety tips:
- Use propane and charcoal grills in outdoor areas only
- Make sure the grill is located well away from the home, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches
- Keep children and pets away from the grill area; declare a three-foot “kid-free zone” around the grill
- Use long-handled grilling tools to give plenty of clearance from heat and flames
- Remove grease or fat build-up from the grills and in trays below the grill so it cannot ignite
- Never leave the grill unattended
Those who use gas grill should regularly check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it by applying a light soap and water solution to it. The bubble will come out if there’s a leak. Use only equipment with the label of a recognized testing laboratory. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions in proper use of grill. Charcoal grill users who have a “charcoal chimney” to start charcoal for cooking should use a long match or lightning device to avoid burning their fingers. Do not use gasoline or other flammable liquid to get a fire going. Keep charcoal fluid away from children and heat sources. After grilling, let the coals cool completely before disposing of them in a metal container.