Grilling Safety Tips

As the weather begins to cool, many people like to get outside, fire up the grill, and cook some delicious food. However fun grilling might be, it does come with some risks. According to a report released by FEMA, most of these fires were due to mechanical failure, misuse of the product, or operational deficiency. The NFPA reports that between 2009 and 2013:

  • Firefighters responded to nearly 9,000 fires involving grills, hibachis, or barbecues a year.
  • These fires caused an average of 10 deaths and 160 injuries each year.
  • There is approximately $118 million in property damage due to these fires each year.

Whether you are getting ready for the big game or simply enjoying some family fun, there are several steps you can take to keep everyone safe when you are grilling out.

Grilling safety tips.

Safe Grilling Tips

  • Don’t grill indoors – Little electric grills, like the George Foreman grills, work well both indoors and outdoors. However, you should never use a grill with an active flame inside. You need to grill outdoors with a safe distance between the grill and the home. This is not just due to the risk of fire. Smoke inhalation is a leading cause of fire-related deaths.
  • Be careful with propane – While propane grills may be easier to use than charcoal grills, you need to be careful when igniting or re-igniting the grill. High levels of propane can leak or be released and build up in smaller spaces. If this flares up, it could cause severe burns or fires.
  • Clean the grill well before using it – Before you start cooking, clean the grates and grease pans well. This will help reduce flare-ups that can lead to burns. Keep in mind that the bristles of the grill brush can wear down and break off over time. This can lead to them getting stuck in your food and subsequently lodged in your body when you eat them.
  • Grill in a well-ventilated area – First, create a 10-foot safety zone around the cooking area. Make sure no kids or pets can get close to the grilling area. Make sure the area you are cooking in is well-ventilated. This will help reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby – A class “B”, ABC, or “K” fire extinguisher will work for both gas and charcoal grills. Keep it nearby and make sure it is up-to-date. Ensure you know how to use it in case of an emergency.
  • Be smart when lighting the grill – Never use gasoline as a substitute for starter fluid and never add lighter fluid to coals that are already hot. This can lead to serious injuries and fires. The flames can actually follow a stream of fluid back up to the bottle of fluid and ignite in your hand.

Safety does not stop with the grill. You need to be aware of the proper cooking temperature for all food you are preparing. Have a meat thermometer ready to check the internal temperature of all meat. Undercooked food can lead to food poisoning.

If you do have an incident while grilling and someone gets hurt, call 911 or seek medical attention immediately. If a fire breaks out, do not try to handle it yourself. Call 911 so the fire department can get there as quickly as possible.