According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fire departments respond to an average of 8,900 home fires involving grills, hibachis, or barbeques each year, including an average of 3,900 structure fires and 5,100 outside fires. These 8,900 fires cause an average of 10 civilian deaths, 160 civilian injuries, and $118M in direct property damage.
Taking a few simple precautions can virtually eliminate fires involving Barbecues.
SETTING UP YOUR BARBECUE
- Set your barbeque up at least 10 feet away from any combustible material. (away from your siding, out from under the eaves)
- Have a fire extinguisher or a garden hose attached to a water supply.
- Never use your gas or charcoal barbecue inside the house, in a garage, or in any enclosed area.
- With gas grills, be sure that the hose connection is tight and check hoses carefully for leaks. Applying soapy water to the hoses will easily and safely reveal any leaks. Clean out the tubes that lead into the burner.
- If you want to use natural gas for your barbeque, make sure your gas grill is designed for natural gas and not propane. Natural gas burners have larger holes than propane.
- Should electrically operated accessories (rotisseries, lights etc…) be used, make sure they are properly grounded in accordance with local codes. Electrical cords should be placed away from walkways.
- Never start a propane grill with the lid closed. Gas can accumulate and when the grill is ignited may cause an explosion.
- With charcoal grills, only use charcoal starter fluids designed for barbecue grills and do not add fluid after coals have been lit.
- Don't wear loose clothing that might catch fire.
- Use long handled barbecue tools and/or flame resistant mitts.
- Never leave the grill unattended and never move a hot grill
- Don’t allow anyone to conduct any activities around the grill when the grill is in use or still hot.
- Always follow the manufacturer's cleaning and storing instructions that accompany the grill. Keeping your grill clean and free of grease buildup will eliminate most fires.
- Always shut off the propane fuel at the grill and at the bottle after you have finished barbecuing. Otherwise, this will lead to fire hazards, such as leaks and faulty regulators.
- Remove the ashes from your charcoal grill only after they are completely cooled and no warm embers remain. Keep damp or wet coals in a well ventilated area. During the drying process, spontaneous combustion can occur in confined areas.
- Always follow the manufacturer's instructions and have the grill repaired by a professional, if necessary.
IN CASE OF A BARBECUE FIRE
- DIAL 911 if there is any type of fire that either threatens your personal safety or endangers property.
- For PROPANE Grills - turn off the burners and tank valve, if you can do so safely. If the fire involves the tank, leave it alone and evacuate the area.
- For CHARCOAL Grills - close the grill lid.
- Disconnect the power to ELECTRIC Grills.
- NEVER attempt to extinguish a grease fire with water. It will only cause the flames to flare up. Use an approved portable fire extinguisher.
- Use baking soda to control a grease fire if you don’t have a commercial fire extinguisher.