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ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala --When the warmer weather hits, there’s nothing better than the smell of food on the grill. Seven out of every 10 adults in the U.S. have a grill or smoker, which translates to a lot of tasty meals. But it also means there’s an increased risk of home and workplace fires.

From 2014-2018, fire departments went to an annual average of 8,900 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues per year, including 3,900 structure fires and 4,900 outside or unclassified fires.

To prevent these types of fires when using a grill or similar cooker and to keep you and your family safe, it's important to know some helpful tips and facts about grilling safety.

Grilling safety begins by being well informed on things such as where to place your grill and how to properly utilize it. To ensure you have a safe grilling season, please use the following tips:

  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Whether at home or in the workplace, propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors and 35 ft. away from any combustibles.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below  the grill.
  • Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
  • Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.

July is the peak month for grill fires, with 18 percent of all grill fires happening this month. June and May are the second and third peak months for grill fires, respectively. With many holidays and celebrations falling within those months, it's important to remain vigilant about grilling safety during this time.

In 2014-2018, an average of 19,700 patients per year went to emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills. Injuries typically involved contact burns. And children under five were often among those injured. In fact, children under five accounted for an average of 2,000, or 39 percent, of all contact-type burns per year. These burns typically occurred when someone, often a child, bumped into, touched or fell on the grill, grill part or hot coals.

Gas grills were involved in 8,900 home fires per year. Leaks or breaks were primarily a problem with gas grills. Charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were involved in 1,300 home fires per year, including 600 structure fires and 600 outside fires annually. While charcoal fires occur less often, safety when using these types of grills is still important. One thing to note is to let the coals completely cool before disposing of them in a metal container and do not throw hot coals in dry vegetation or trash receptacle.

As you prepare to fire up the grill for the upcoming holidays and over the next few months, make sure you are prepared and have safety precautions in place to keep you and your family as safe as possible.

For more information about grilling safety, you can contact the Fire Prevention Office at Ext. 4862

Source: NFPA’s Applied Research, more information can be found at: