NFPA suggests summer grilling tips to avoid fires
April 12, 2006 -
With warmer and
longer days fast approaching, outdoor grilling is often a popular
choice for cooking. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
today urged caution when grilling to ensure safe cookouts. According to
NFPA, gas-fueled and charcoal grills cause an average of 900 home
structure fires and 3,500 home outdoor fires each year. Gas grills have
a higher fire risk than charcoal grills. Leaks and breaks in the gas
cylinder or hose are the leading cause, accounting for nearly half of
gas grill fires. Placing combustibles too close to heat, and leaving
cooking unattended, are the two leading causes for charcoal grill home
structure fires. Half of all gas grill and charcoal grill home
structure fires begin on an exterior balcony or unenclosed porch, so it
is important to grill not just outside your home but well away from
NFPA suggests some safety tips
for outdoor grilling:
- Gas and charcoal BBQ grills must only be used
outdoors. If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces, such as tents,
they pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to
toxic gases and potential asphyxiation.
- Position the grill well away from siding, deck
railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play
areas and foot traffic.
- Keep children and pets away from the grill area:
declare a three-foot "safe zone" around the grill.
- Put out several long-handled grilling tools to give
the chef plenty of clearance from heat and flames when flipping
- Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays
below grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.
- Purchase the proper starter fluid and store the can
out of reach of children, and away from heat sources.
- Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals or
have already been ignited, and never use any flammable or combustible
liquid other than charcoal starter fluid to get the fire going.
Check the gas cylinder hose for
using it for the first time each year. A light soap and water solution
applied to the hose will quickly reveal escaping propane by releasing
bubbles. If you determine your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the
soapy bubble test, and there is no flame:
- Turn off the gas tank and grill.
- If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a
professional before using it again.
- If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.
- If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away
the grill and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the
- All gas cylinders manufactured after April 2002 must
overfill protection devices (OPD). OPDs shut off the flow of gas before
capacity is reached, limiting the potential for release of propane gas
if the cylinder heats up. OPDs are easily identified by their
triangular-shaped hand wheel.
- Use only equipment bearing the mark of an independent
testing laboratory. Follow the manufacturers' instructions on how to
set up the grill and maintain it.
- Never store propane gas cylinders in buildings or
If you store a gas grill inside during the winter, disconnect the
cylinder and leave it outside.
NFPA has been a worldwide leader
fire, electrical, building, and life safety to the public since 1896.
The mission of the international nonprofit organization is to reduce
the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life
by providing. and advocating consensus codes and standards, research,
training and education.
Source: National Fire