According to the U.S. Fire Administration, about 5,700 grill fires happen every year — doing more than $37 million in damage.
This summer, make sure you’re grilling as safely as possible. To get started, take a look at our 15 tips:
- Check the grill’s hose for gas leaks. Before using your grill for the first time, make sure it’s ready to go. To do so, apply a light soap and water solution to the hose, and then turn the propane tank on. If there’s a gas leak, the propane will release bubbles around the hose. But if there are no bubbles, your grill is ready to be ignited.
- Keep the grill at least 10 feet from your home. Avoid areas close to your house, deck, garage, shed, etc. And don’t forget to move your grill out from under any eaves or overhanging branches.
- Don’t grill in the garage. If it’s raining on your parade, it can be tempting to bring the grill into the garage… but it can also be dangerous. The flame and the carbon monoxide are too risky to be anywhere but outdoors.
- Only turn on the grill if the lid is open. If you turn on the grill while the lid is closed, it could cause the propane to build up inside, and when ignited, it could blow off — doing serious damage.
- Never leave the grill unattended. Once it’s lit, it needs constant supervision.
- Create a “kid-free zone.” Encourage kids (and even pets) to stay at least three feet away from the grill.
- Grill on a level surface. Keep your grill sturdy to keep your home, your family and yourself safer.
- Keep a fire extinguisher near the grill. Baking soda, a bucket of sand or a garden hose can control a grease fire, but a fire extinguisher is always the safest, most assured, option.
- If you smell gas while you’re grilling, get away. Call the fire department immediately, and they’ll do what needs to be done.
- Wear a heavy apron and oven mitts. Keep yourself covered from the flame and covered against harm.
- Use long-handled utensils. Avoid burns and splatters with extra-long tools.
- Clean your grill regularly. The more grease and fat that has built up on your grill, the more fuel there is for a fire.
- Don’t cover the grill until it’s cooled. Even after dinner time, the grill could still be hot. To avoid any unnecessary burns this summer, don’t move, store or cover your grill until you’re sure it’s cooled.
- Put coals and embers in a metal can, away from your home. Once the grill has cooled, get rid of your coals and embers the right way.
- Store propane tanks outside and away from your house. And always check to make sure the valves are turned off.
Last but not least: one more precaution. Because burns can be common, stock up on supplies. See 31 items you should keep in your first-aid kit.