When the warmer weather hits, there’s nothing better than the smell of food on the grill. Seven out of every 10 adults in the U.S. own a grill or smoker meaning a lot of back yard BBQ’s, but it also means there’s an increased risk of home fires.
A report from the NFPA states that in 2013-2017, fire departments went to an annual average of 10,200 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues per year, including 4,500 structure fires and 5,700 outside or unclassified fires. These fires caused an annual average of 10 civilian deaths, 160 civilian injuries and $123 million in direct property damage.
Grilling by the numbers
- July is the peak month for grill fires (17%), including both structure, outdoor or unclassified fires, followed by June (14%), May (13%) and August (12%).
- In 2013-2017, an average of 19,000 patients per year went to emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills.** Half (9,300 or 49%) of the injuries were thermal burns, including both burns from fire and from contact with hot objects; 5,200 thermal burns, per year,were caused by such contact or other non-fire events.
- Children under five accounted for an average of 2,000 or 38%, of the contact-type burns per year. These burns typically occurred when someone, often a child, bumped into, touched or fell on the grill, grill part or hot coals.
- Gas grills were involved in an average of 8,700 home fires per year, including 3,600 structure fires and 5,100 outdoor fires annually. Leaks or breaks were primarily a problem with gas grills. Eleven percent of gas grill structure fires and 23% of outside gas grill fires were caused by leaks or breaks.
- Charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were involved in 1,100 home fires per year, including 600 structure fires and 500 outside fires annually.
- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
- The grill should be placed well away 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.
- Never leave your grill unattended.
- Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
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