With the Fourth of July holiday upon us, many will be celebrating the holiday with family and friends at a cookout while watching fireworks, but before you fire up the grill this weekend, The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has some grilling statistics and safety information to help making your long weekend as safe and enjoyable as possible.
- In the last few years, fire departments around the country have responded to nearly eight thousand fires that were caused by a grill or barbecue each year, almost three thousand of these where structure fires. These fires caused an average of ten deaths, one hundred twenty injuries, and eighty million dollars in property damage each year.
- Gas grills are used about one and a half times more than charcoal grills but are involved in five times as many fires.
- Nearly two-thirds (62%) of all house fires caused by grilling started on a balcony, porch, courtyard, patio, terrace, or exterior wall.
- Half of all grill fires start when gas or another flammable liquid ignite.
The NFPA also has a list of safety tips to help prevent you from being a statistic on their website.
- Grills (propane or charcoal) should only be used outdoors.
- Keep the grill away from the house and deck rails; do not put the grill under potentially flammable items such as eves or tree branches.
- Watch the grill at all times and keep children and pets away from the grill area.
- Remove grease buildup from all parts of the grill.
For charcoal grills:
- Using a charcoal chimney and newspaper to start your grill prevents any unwanted accidents involving starter fluid, but if you do use starter fluid, never add it after the fire has been lit.
- Never allow starter fluid to be in reach of children and keep it away from flames and other heat sources.
- After you are finished grilling, let the coals cool completely before disposal.
For propane grills:
- Before use each year, check the gas hose for leaks.
- Move away from the grill and call the fire department if you smell gas at any time while cooking.