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Grilling safety tips

Date: July 19, 2017

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), each year an average of 8,900 home fires are caused by grilling. While nearly half of the people who grill do it year-round, July is the peak month for grill fires followed by May, June and August.

A failure to clean the grill was the leading factor in 19 percent of all grill related structure fires. In 17 percent of grill related fires, materials that could catch fire were too close to the grill.

Follow these safety tips to reduce the risk of fires and injuries due to outdoor grills:

  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.

  • The grill should be placed at least ten feet from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.

  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.

  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.

  • Combustible items should be kept at least three feet away from the grill.

  • Never leave your grill unattended.

  • Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.

Charcoal Grills:

  • If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the grill after it is ignited.

  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.

  • When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing. If you don’t have time to let them cool, coals should be soaked in water before putting them in the trash.

Propane Grills:

  • Check the gas hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles.

  • If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, turn off both the gas tank and the 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 from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.

  • If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 5 minutes before re-lighting it.

For additional information, contact the Friendswood Fire Marshal’s Office at 281-996-3335 or