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Expert tips for staying safe at the grill

Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff weekend to the start of summertime fun. If your weekend plans include some grilling during your celebrations, here are some important tips to keep you and your family safe!

According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly 20,000 people across the United States went to the hospital due to grilling-related injuries from 2014 to 2018. Grills were involved in nearly 4,000 structure fires in that time.  Seven out of every 10 adults in the United States have a grill or smoker, which translates to a lot of tasty meals. But it also means there’s an increased risk of home fires and thermal burns. A grill placed too close to anything that can burn is a fire hazard.


  • Propane and charcoal barbeque grills should only be used outdoors
  • The grill should be placed at least 10 feet away from your home or anything that can burn including deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches
  • Keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from the grill area
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in the trays below the grill
  • Never leave your grill unattended
  • Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it

Specific tips for charcoal grills:

  • Charcoal chimneys which use paper and electric starters operate without flammable starter fluid  
  • If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid and keep it out of the reach of children and away from heat sources
  • After grilling, let coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container

Specific tips for propane grills:

  • Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year by applying  a light soap and water solution to the hose; a propane leak will release bubbles
  • If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and no flame, turn off both the gas tank and the grill.  If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.  If the leak does not stop, call 911
  • If the flame goes out during cooking, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 5 minutes before re-lighting it 
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call 911 – do not move the grill

Burn safety tips:

  • To reduce the risk of a burn, never leave items cooking on the grill unattended
  • Keep children and pets at least 3-feet from the grilling area
  • Never cook while wearing loose-fitting clothes
  • Check the temperature of food before serving it to a child
  • Cool a superficial burn with cool running water for 15-20 minutes (but never cool more than 10% of the body at a time)
  • Seek medical attention for all burns that are more than superficial 

E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety reminds you that Memorial Day weekend activities are more fun when you know that your kids and family are safe and secure because Fire Is Everyone’s Fight®

E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety is a sponsor for School News Network
E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety is a sponsor for School News Network
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