9 Grilling Safety Tips for Summer Barbecues

food cooking on a grill

It happens every year. The weather is getting warmer, more people are using outdoor grills – and the incidence of fires caused by grills is increasing. In 2013-2017, outdoor grilling caused an annual average of 10,200 home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. According to the Hearth, Patio & BBQ Association, 64% of households own a gas grill, 44% own a charcoal grill and 9% own an electric grill.

No matter what type of grill you own, here are 9 grilling safety tips that will keep you and your home safe for barbecue season:


1. Grill outside and away from any

Charcoal and gas grills are intended for outdoor use only. However, the NFPA reports that more than a quarter (27%) of home fires started by outdoor grills started on a patio, porch, or patio, and 29% started on an outdoor porch or open porch. Pay attention to dangling tree branches when preparing the grill.

2. Make sure the grill is stable

Set up the grill only on a flat surface and make sure you don't turn the grill over. Consider using a grill pad or splatter mat under your grill to protect your deck or patio.


Remove grease or fat from both the grill and the bottom tray. If you are using a charcoal grill, allow the charcoal to cool completely before disposing of it in a metal container.

4. Check for Propane Leaks on Your Gas Stove

Before your first season grill, check the gas tank hose for leaks by applying a water solution Light soap on the hose, then turn on the gas. If there is a propane leak, the solution will bubble. Other signs of a propane leak include the smell of gas near the grill or a flame that isn't burning.

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5. If the flame goes out, wait for it to re-ignite

If you are using a gas grill and the flame goes out, turn off the grill and the gas, then wait five minutes on least until re-lighted.

6. Take care of the grill

Never leave the grill lit unattended. Do not allow children or pets to play near the grill. Never attempt to move a lit or hot grill, and remember that the grill will remain hot for at least an hour after use.

7. Be careful with charcoal starter fluid

If you are using a charcoal grill, use only charcoal starter fluid. If the fire starts to go out, do not add any starting fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire. Consider using a charcoal chimney starter, which uses newspaper to ignite the fire instead of starter fluid.

8. Wear Appropriate Clothing

Clothes can catch on fire easily, so make sure your shirt tails, sleeves, or apron strings don't hang over the grill .

9. Be prepared to put out the fire

Have 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, keep a bucket of sand next to the grill. Never use water to put out grease fires.

These easy-to-follow tips will help you and your family enjoy a safe summer barbecue season. For those grilling over an open fire, check out these fire pit safety tips to keep you and your guests safe.