NFPA offers grilling safety information ahead of Memorial Day weekend

May 23, 2024

Grilling safety tips for Memorial Day weekend

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has shared important tips for grilling safely this holiday weekend and beyond.

With Memorial Day weekend approaching, many people are preparing their grills.

Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy at NFPA, said: “Outdoor grilling is a popular option for cooking food, but it does present risks.

“As Memorial Day weekend nears, we want everyone to be aware of when and where grilling fires most often happen and to take the steps to prevent them.”

Statistics on grilling fires

NFPA data from 2017 to 2021 shows that U.S. fire departments responded to an annual average of 11,421 home fires involving grills, hibachis, or barbecues.

These included 5,763 structure fires and 5,659 outside or unclassified fires.

The fires resulted in an annual average of two civilian deaths, 176 reported civilian injuries, and $172 million in direct property damage.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an annual average of 22,155 patients went to emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills.

Nearly half of these injuries were thermal burns, with children under five accounting for an average of 2,820 contact-type burns per year.

Safety tips from NFPA

NFPA offers several key safety tips to reduce the risk of grilling-related fires and injuries:

  • For propane grills, check the gas tank for leaks before use.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup.
  • Place the grill well away from the home, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
  • When charcoal grilling, use only charcoal starter fluid.
  • Let the coals cool completely before disposing of them in a metal container.
  • Never leave your grill unattended while in use.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grilling area.

Reducing risks while grilling

Carli emphasized the importance of following these precautions: “These numbers highlight the risks that outdoor grilling presents.

Still, there’s no reason to avoid grilling during Memorial Day or having summer cookouts.

By following simple safety precautions, people can significantly reduce the risk of potential injury or experiencing a grilling fire.”

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