Grilling safety tips

According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly 20,000 patients visit emergency rooms annually with injuries involving grills, including 9,500 thermal burns.

While grilling is a year-round activity, grill usage - and corresponding injuries - spike around summer holidays. To stay safe and enjoy the barbeque, consider these guidelines.


Before you grill

  • Clean out the grill thoroughly and check the hoses for leaks prior to the first use during the grilling season.
  • Keep propane and charcoal grills outdoors. If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces such as porches or tents, they pose a fire hazard and a risk of exposing people to deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Grill should be placed a safe distance from lawn games, play areas, and places where people are gathering. Grills should always be on level ground and at least three feet away from siding, deck railing, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Make sure gas grill lids are open before lighting them.
  • Matches, lighters and starter fluid should be out of the reach of children in a locked drawer or cabinet.
  • Children and pets must stay away from the grill area: declare a three-foot "kid-free zone" around the grill.

While you grill

  • For charcoal grills, only use lighter fluid specifically intended for charcoal grills.
  • Put away any jewelry or watches that could conduct heat and cause burns.
  • Never leave your grill unattended while in use.
  • Use long barbeque mitts and long-handled grilling tools to protect the chef from heat and flames when cooking.
  • Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below the grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.

After you grill

  • Douse charcoal grill embers with water and keep the lid on for 48 hours afterwards.
  • Place the embers in a coffee can or wrap them in foil when it safe to finally dispose of them.
  • Store grills at least 10 feet from doors, windows and dryer vents and at least 20 feet from your home's intake vents.

Whether its hot dogs or burgers, grilling is a favorite activity but must be done with caution and care. Be sure to consult your independent insurance agent to be sure you have the right home and umbrella coverage should an unexpected grilling accident occur.

National Fire Protection Association grill fact sheet and grill safety sheet