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 fires.
In 2017-2021, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 11,421 home** fires involving grills, hibachis, or barbecues per year, including an average of 5,763 structure fires and 5,659 outside or unclassified fires.
This grilling season, NFPA tests your knowledge and demonstrates the proper way to use your grill safely to prevent fires.
Guy Colonna, NFPA Division Manager, Industrial ＆ Chemical Engineering, gives some basic tips on how to prepare your grill before your first cookout of the season.
Grilling fire facts
July (16%) was the peak month for grill fires, followed by June (14%), May (12%) and August (11%).
- In 2017-2021, an average of 22,155 patients per year went to emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills.*** Nearly half (10,342 or 47%) of the injuries were thermal burns, including both burns from fire and from contact with hot objects; 6,074 thermal burns, per year, were caused by such contact or other non-fire events.
- Children under five accounted for an average 2,820 or 46%, of the 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. Keep children away from the grill.
- Gas grills were involved in an average of 9,079 home fires per year, including 4,454 structure fires and 4,625 outdoor fires annually. Leaks or breaks were primarily a problem with gas grills. 6% of gas grill structure fires and 15% of outside gas grill fires were caused by leaks or breaks.
- Charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were involved in 1,440 home fires per year, including 754 structure fires and 686 outside fires annually.
Source: NFPA's Applied Research
*Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA)
**Homes include one- or two-family homes, apartments, town houses, row houses, and manufactured housing.
***Data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System
More grilling information
NFPA news release: Summer season: peak time for grilling fires
Check out our sample social media posts and cards on grilling safety.
- See "Home Grill Fires Tables" report for more details about home grill fires.
Plan on taking your grill with you on a camping trip or picnic? Check out our tips that feature fire safe information on charcoal grills, barbecues and hibatchis.