May, July Peak Months for Grilling Fires

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Grilling season is right around the corner and grill gurus everywhere are preparing for many family parties and barbecues.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) encourages grillers to pay attention to safety during the spring and summer months when home fires involving grilling incidents occur most often.

In 2011 – 2015, fire departments responded to an average of 9,600 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues each year. That number included 4,100 structure fires and 5,500 outside or unclassified fires, according to NFPA. These fires caused an average of 10 civilian deaths, 160 civilian injuries, and $133 million in direct property damage per year.

July is the peak month for grilling fires followed by May, June, and August. According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, 73 percent of consumers grill on the Fourth of July, 60 percent do so on Memorial Day, 58 percent grill on Labor Day, and 45 percent grill on Father’s Day.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Surveillance System, grills caused an average 4,500 non-thermal contact burns in patients seen at emergency departments in 2012 – 2016. Children under five suffered 1,600 or 35 percent of these burns. This type of injury typically occurred when someone bumped into, touched or fell on the grill, grill part or hot coals.

The NFPA reminds everyone that all types of grills pose a risk for fires and burn injuries. Place the grill well away from siding and deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches, per manufacturer’s instructions.

According to NFPA’s most recent fact sheet, 11 percent of home grill structure fires began when an outside wall caught fire and in roughly one of every five fires, the grill had not been cleaned.

Here are additional grilling fire safety tips:

  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors;
  • Children and pets should be at least three feet away from the grill area;
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease and fat buildup from the gates and trays below; and
  • Never leave your grill unattended.