By John Voket
With a ton of summer left to plan outdoor grilling, and an increasing number of homeowners using outdoor kitchens and sometimes grilling year-round, it’s important to remember that all types of grills pose a risk for fires and burn injuries.
According to the National Fire Protection Association or NFPA statistics, July and August are among the peak month for grilling fires. And roughly 9,600 home grill fires are reported every year. The leading causes were a failure to clean, using the grill too close to something that could burn or having things that could catch fire too close to the grill, and unattended grill use.
Leaks were the leading cause of gas grill fires. According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, an astounding 73 percent of consumers grill on the Fourth of July, and more than half (58 percent) grill on Labor Day.
Safety minded grillers should always be following these tips:
– The grill should be placed well away from a home or deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
– The grill should be a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic.
– Keep children and pets away from the grill area. Have a three-foot (1 meter) “kid-free zone” around any grill.
– Keep grills clean by removing grease and fat buildup from the grates and trays.
– Never leave a grill unattended.
Between 2012-2016, the NFPA says an average of 16,600 patients per year went to emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills. Half of these injuries were thermal burns.
Children under five accounted for about 1,600 or one-third of the 4,500 thermal non-fire grill burns.These burns typically occurred when someone, often a child, bumped into, touched or fell on the grill, grill parts, or hot coals.
Gas grills were involved in an average of 7,900 home fires per year, including 3,300 structure fires and 4,700 outdoor fires annually. Leaks or breaks were primarily a problem with gas grills.
Twelve percent of gas grill structure fires and 24 percent of outside gas grill fires were caused by leaks or breaks. Charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were involved in 1,300 home fires annually, including 600 structure fires and 700 outside fires.