Remember grilling safety

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reminds grilling enthusiasts and basic backyard cooks alike to remember grilling safety as the outdoor cooking season heats up.

U.S. fire departments annually respond to an average of 9,000 home fires involving grills, hibachis, or barbecues per year, causing approximately 150 injuries and $90 million in direct property damage.

One-third of the non-confined home structure fires involving grills started on an exterior balcony or unenclosed porch, 20 percent started on a courtyard, terrace, or patio, and 15 percent started on an exterior wall surface. Of these fires that involved gas grills, the leading contributing factor was a leak or break in hoses or other equipment, and the leading contributing factor of fires involving charcoal or other solid-fueled grills was something that could burn being too close to the grill.

An average of 20,000 patients go to emergency rooms each year because of injuries involving grills.

Grilling safety tips:

*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 carbon monoxide poisoning.

*Place 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.

*Use long-handled grilling tools to give the chef plenty of clearance from heat and flames.

*Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.

If you have a grill fire, immediately move a safe distance from the fire and call 911.