Often considered the unofficial kick-off to summer, Memorial Day weekend includes lots of celebrations featuring cookouts and barbecues. But it also means the increased risk of grilling fires. U.S. fire departments responded to 10,200 home fires involving grills, hibachis, or barbecues that resulted in 10 civilian deaths, 160 injuries, and $123 million in direct property damage, on average each year between 2013 and 2017.*
The leading causes of home grilling fires include failing to properly clean the grill, leaks or breaks, and having a flammable object too close to the grill. Unattended cooking is a major cause of all types of cooking fires, including grill fires. Leaks and breaks are a particular problem with gas grills.
The Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System along with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) offers these recommendations for enjoying a fire-safe grilling season:
- For propane grills, check the gas tank for leaks before use.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
- Place the grill at least 15ft from the home, away from deck railings and anything flammable, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
- Keep children and pets at least 3ft away from the grilling area.
- If you use starter fluid when charcoal grilling, only use charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire. When you a finished grilling, let the coals cool completely before disposing in a metal container.
As the Memorial Day weekend fast-approaches, take the time to inspect and test your grill, and make sure you have a safe location for using it! For additional fire prevention information visit www.loudoun.gov/firemarshal or contact the Public Education Manager at 703-737-8093.
*Source: National Fire Protection Association ###