According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), July is the peak month for grilling fires, followed by June, May, and August. Annually, U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 10,200 home fires each year involving grills, hibachis, or barbeques. With the summer season fast approaching, Joe Spitznagel of SERVPRO® of West Fort Wayne, a fire and water damage cleanup specialist in the Ft. Wayne area, urges homeowners to check the readiness of their outdoor cooking equipment – like grills and propane tanks – to help ensure summer cooking fires don’t become house fires.
“The NFPA reports that seven out of every 10 adults in the U.S. has a grill or a smoker,” said Spitznagel. “That statistic really highlights the risk that homeowners face of experiencing a home fire caused by grilling and other open flame cooking. It’s important to take some basic safety steps to help ensure you’ll spend your summer enjoying friends and family and not dealing with the aftermath of a grill-related house fire.”
According to the NFPA, the top three causes of grilling fires are failure to clean the grill, leaks in gas hose lines or breaks in the grill body itself, and proximity to flammable objects. Spitznagel says these risks are easily managed and offers the following tips from the NFPA to help Ft. Wayne area residents prepare and use their outdoor grills:
General Grill Safety
1. Check your grill for cleanliness and damage. Remove grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill before the first use and after each subsequent use.
2. Position your grill well away from your home and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging tree branches
3. Keep children and pets at a safe distance – at least three feet from the grill
4. Never leave the grill unattended when in use, and always grill outside.
1. Check for leaks in the gas tank hose before using your grill.
2. Open gas grill top before lighting the grill.
3. If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least five minutes before re-lighting it.
1. Use only charcoal starter fluid or opt for a charcoal chimney or electric starter.
2. Never add charcoal starter fluid, or any flammable fluid, to the fire.
3. Dispose of coals in a metal container after the coals have cooled completely.