Safety Guidelines for Grilling: Keep Your Equipment and Your Guests Safe | DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog

Grilling season traditionally begins on Memorial Day weekend.   According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), every year 30 people die as a result of gas grill fires and explosions and another 30 people die from CO poisoning from their charcoal grills.  In addition, more than 100 people are injured in grilling accidents.

Before beginning your grilling season, conducting a quick inspection of your grill will help ensure that you and your family will be safe.  CPSC offers the following safety tips for gas grilling:

  • “Check the tubes that lead into the burner for any blockage from insects, spiders, or food grease.  Use a pipe cleaner or wire to clear blockage and push it through the main part of the burner.
  • Check grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes and leaks.  Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hoses or tubing.
  • Move gas hoses as far away as possible from hot surfaces and dripping hot grease.  If you can’t move the hoses, install a heat shield to protect them.
  • Replace scratched or nicked connectors, which can eventually leak gas.
  • Check for gas leaks, following the manufacturer’s instructions, if you smell gas or when you reconnect the grill to the LP gas container.  If you detect a leak, immediately turn off the gas and don’t attempt to light the grill until the leak is fixed.
  • Keep lighted cigarettes, matches, or open flames away from a leaking grill.
  • Never use a grill indoors.  Use a grill at least 10 feet away from your house or any building.  Do not use a grill in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or under a surface that can catch fire.
  • Do not attempt to repair the tank valve or the appliance yourself.  See an LP gas dealer or a qualified appliance repair person.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions that accompany the grill.”

Of course, common sense guidelines should not be forgotten. Always shut off the valve to propane tanks when not using your gas grill. Keep children and pets away from the grill while it is in use and until it has cooled after use. Use proper utensils that allow you to be a safe distance from the grill while cooking. Do NOT wear any loose clothing while grilling.

Storage of LP gas containers requires caution.  Always keep containers upright and never store them under or near the grill or indoors.  Never store or use flammable liquids near the grill.  When transporting LP gas containers, never keep a filled container in a hot car or car trunk and always transport the container in a secure upright position.  Follow manufacturer’s instructions carefully when connecting or disconnecting LP gas containers.

The following CPSC safety tips apply to charcoal grills:

  • Never use a grill inside a home, vehicle, tent, porch or garage.  Even if ventilation is provided, do not use grills in covered or enclosed areas.
  • Never apply charcoal lighter fluid after charcoal has been lit.  The fire may climb fumes to the fluid container and explode.
  • Do not use gasoline or kerosene to light a charcoal fire.  Both can easily explode.
  • Place grills on flat, level surfaces to avoid tipping.
  • Since charcoal produces CO fumes until the charcoal is completely extinguished, do not store the grill indoors with freshly used coals.

In addition, the same common sense guidelines that apply to gas grilling should also be followed with charcoal grills.  Keep children and pets away from the grill while it is in use and until it has cooled after use.  use proper utensils that allow you to be a safe distance away from the grill while cooking.  Do NOT wear any loose clothing while grilling.

In case of a burn injury, run cool water over the burn for 10-15 minutes.  Avoid using products such as butter, salves or ice.  The best practice is to gradually cool the burned area without trapping in the heat and causing further blistering.  If the burn is severe, call 9-1-1 for immediate attention.