Grilling is not only one of America's favorite pastimes but also a year-round activity that brings people together. However, it's important to remember that grilling can pose risks if proper precautions are not taken. That's why we continue the Grilling 101 Series with "Grilling 101: How to Practice Grill Safety."

Whether it's summer or winter, many people enjoy the art of grilling. However, practicing some basic safety rules when cooking on your gas grill is crucial. Each year, numerous individuals sustain injuries due to overlooking these safety measures. Don't let that happen to you!

To ensure safe and enjoyable grilling year-round, it is essential to follow these simple steps and practice grill safety. By doing so, you can fully embrace the joy of grilling while keeping yourself and your loved ones protected. Stay safe and happy grilling!

Avoid becoming a statistic by keeping your family safe with this most critical step - don't ever leave your grill unattended while in use!

Grilling 101: How to Practice Grill Safety

Potential Risks of Not Practicing Grill Safety

Grilling is a cherished tradition for many, but it's crucial to be aware of its potential risks. Recent statistics show that each year, approximately 9,500 individuals suffer burns from grill fires or hot grills. Alarmingly, children under five accounted for an average of 2,000, or 38%, of these contact-type burns per year.

Furthermore, an annual average of 10,600 home fires involve grills, hibachis, or barbecues. These fires result in an estimated average of 10 deaths, 100 injuries, and $37 million in yearly property loss. It's worth noting that in 2012, as many as 16,900 individuals ended up in emergency rooms due to a BBQ accident.

Research shows that the leading causes of injury include:

  • Grills that have not been properly cleaned
  • Leaks or breaks
  • Leaving the grill unattended

Disturbingly, 13% of Americans who own or have access to a grill have reportedly experienced a grilling-related accident.

To prevent these unfortunate incidents from happening, it's essential to practice grill safety. Ensure your grill is clean and adequately maintained, never leave it unattended while in use, and avoid distractions such as alcohol. Remember, safety should always be your top priority when you fire up the grill.

Beyond this number-one safety rule for grilling, following these tips will keep any injury or blaze from ruining your grilling experience.

How to Practice Grill Safety in 7 Steps

There is something magical about cooking food over an open flame, and the routineness of outdoor grilling makes us complacent when practicing grilling safety. Setting up simple guidelines for using your outdoor kitchen can mitigate much of the risk ahead of time. Practice the following tips and keep your family safe this summer!

Grill Safety Tip #1: Never Leave Your Grill Unattended.

Maintain a safe boundary around your grill to keep pets and kids from venturing too close or bumping the appliance. Never leave a hot grill unattended or allow kids and pets to play nearby. When you are done cooking and want to turn off the gas, don't touch or move the grill until it has cooled down.

Grill Safety Tip #2: Maintain a Safe Distance From Structures

Homeowners should take care to place their grills in a safe location at an appropriate distance from structures and overhangs. While charcoal and gas grills are designed for outdoor use only, according to the NFPA, more than 50% of grill-related fires happen in courtyards, terraces, patios, or balconies. Keep a minimum safe distance of at least 3 feet from wooden structures, and pay attention to overhanging tree branches when you set up your grill.

Grilling 101: How to Practice Grill Safety

Grill Safety Tip #3: Stabilize Your Grill

Place your grill on a solid, level surface. Custom grill islands should be permanently installed and leveled, and freestanding grills need stabilization to keep them from rolling or tipping. Use a grill pad or splatter mat for added safety and staining to protect your deck or flooring.

Grill Safety Tip #4: Inspect for Gas Leaks

Keep the fuel supply turned off when not used, whether a propane tank or natural gas line. When preparing for an outdoor cookout, open the fuel line and visually inspect the hoses and connectors every time.

Before your first barbecue of the season, check the gas hose for leaks by applying a light soap and water solution to the hoses and connectors. Turn on the gas supply. The solution will bubble if there is a gas or propane leak, and you should replace those parts immediately before grilling. Other signs of a possible natural gas or propane leak include the smell of gas near the barbecue or a flame that won't light.

Grill Safety Tip #5: Keep Your Grill Clean

Keeping your grill clean is a vital safety step and an essential maintenance practice to keep your grill lasting for years to come.

Routinely wipe down the exterior surfaces with soapy water to remove dust, ash, and debris. Use a wire brush to clean the grill grates before and after every use. Remove grease or fat build-up from both the grill and the tray below the grill. If you use a charcoal grill, let the coals completely cool off before disposing them in a metal container.

Grill Safety Tip #6: Allow the Gas to Dissipate After Misfires

If you use a gas grill and the flame goes out, turn the grill and the gas off, then wait at least five minutes to re-light it. When lighting the grill, if it doesn't light immediately, turn off the gas and wait for it to dissipate before trying again. The build-up of gas in the grill could cause a dangerous flare-up or explosion when lit.

Grill Safety Tip #7: Always Be Ready to Put Out the Fire

Fires are always possible when grilling outdoors, so it is vital to have appropriate tools on hand to keep your home safe. Keep baking soda on hand to control a grease fire and a fire extinguisher nearby for other fires. If you don't have a fire extinguisher, plan on purchasing one since every home should have one. You can also keep a bucket of sand next to the grill if you don't have an extinguisher, and remember, never use water to put out grease fires.

Grilling 101: How to Practice Grill Safety

Grilling 101 Continues On

Grilling is a great way to enjoy any season, and these easy-to-follow tips will help you and your family experience a safe barbecuing experience. None of these tips are complicated, but your home won't turn into a causality due to unsafe conditions with a bit of prudence and standard methodology.

Grilling 101: What You Need to Know About Food Safety

For more information on having a successful grilling season, check out our blog, 7 Things You Need to Know Before Grilling or 13 Grilling Tips for Mastering the Grill.

 The Grilling 101 Series will continue next time with a look at the basics of food safety and how to keep your ingredients fresh and healthy up until grill time.

December 26, 2023 — Jason Klein