What do baseball and grilling have in common? They’re America’s favorite pastimes! Given that 75% of American households possess a grill or smoker, backyard barbecues are popular for celebrating holidays, savoring summer nights, and gearing up for sports events. 

For many people, grilling is fun and relaxing. But it doesn’t mean you should let your guard down entirely while barbecuing. Cooking with an open flame is dangerous, and is a frequent cause of home property damage in the US. US fire departments responded to an estimated 10,600 fires involving grills annually over 4 years. These fires caused an average of 160 injuries and a whopping $149 million in direct property damage annually.

Grilling recklessly puts you and your home at high risk. Out of all the home grill fires recorded during the 4 years, nearly half caused damage to structures. Fires involving structures also resulted in 64 percent of the associated fire injuries and $135 million in direct property damage annually. 

According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), cookout-related disasters tend to peak during the summer months. Many people have barbeques for holidays like the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day, leading to more grill fires. As we enter the peak grilling season, it’s important to know how to keep yourself, your loved ones, and your property safe. 

Grill Fire Trends 

Want to know what to look out for and avoid? Here are some grill fire trends based on 2014-2018 annual averages:

  • July has the most grill fires at 18%, followed by June at 15%, May at 13%, and August at 12%.
  • The grill had not been cleaned in more than one-quarter (29%) of the home grill structure fires.
  • Most grill fires start on balconies or porches, causing 44% of property damage.
  • Gas fueled five out of every six grills involved in home fires (84 percent), while charcoal or another solid fuel fueled 12 percent.
  • Gas grills caused an average of 8,900 home fires per year. Leaks or breaks in the gas line were the primary culprits.
  • Charcoal or other solid-fueled grills caused 1,300 home fires per year.

How can you prevent accidents and injuries with your grill?

Whether you’re flipping burgers or simmering steaks, here are some tips to keep you grilling safely and responsibly:

  • Before using your gas grill, carefully inspect it for gas leaks at the start of the season, as per the manufacturer’s guidelines. Also, ensure the gas line is in good condition and not broken or cracked.
  • For propane tanks, ensure they are free of rust, dents, or damage. Do not overfill them.
  • Do not store propane tanks indoors.
  • Don’t use your outdoor grill indoors. Always use it outside in a clear area away from anything that can catch fire, like a low awning.
  • Do not leave the grill unattended while cooking. This will prevent unattended children from getting injured, and allow you to stop potential hazards in their tracks.
  • Never lean over the grill while cooking. Clothing and hair are extremely flammable and pose a hazard while grilling.
  • Do not move the grill while it is in use or still hot.
  • Ensure you completely extinguish the fire when you finish cooking.
  • Be prepared in case a fire should start. This means having access to a fire extinguisher or baking soda nearby to throw on flames.


Above All, Use Common Sense

Good old common sense goes a long way in preventing backyard BBQ disasters. With these tips, you can make sure everybody has a great time at the cookout:

  • Never leave the grill unattended and keep children away. Diligence around the grill protects kids and pets from accidental burns and injuries.
  • Be prepared for flare-ups. Have a fire extinguisher, garden hose, or bucket of sand on hand.
  • Use the right cooking equipment. Flame-retardant mitts and long-handled tongs and utensils will help you avoid getting burned when handling hot food.
  • Go easy on the alcohol. Being clear-headed goes a long way in preventing potential disasters.

By following these simple tips, you can enjoy a safe and delicious barbecue experience with your friends and family. So fire up the grill, sizzle up some tasty treats, and make memories that will last a lifetime. Cheers to a summer filled with good food, good company, and good times!

Happy grilling!

Certified Restoration San Diego