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 2013-2017, fire departments went to an annual average of 10,200 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues per year, including 4,500 structure fires and 5,700 outside or unclassified fires. These fires caused an annual average of 10 civilian deaths, 160 civilian injuries and $123 million in direct property damage.
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 by the numbers
July is the peak month for grill fires (17%), including both structure, outdoor or unclassified fires, followed by June (14%), May (13%) and August (12%).
- In 2013-2017, an average of 19,000 patients per year went to emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills.** Half (9,300 or 49%) of the injuries were thermal burns, including both burns from fire and from contact with hot objects; 5,200 thermal burns, per year,were caused by such contact or other non-fire events.
- Children under five accounted for an average of 2,000 or 38%, 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.
- Gas grills were involved in an average of 8,700 home fires per year, including 3,600 structure fires and 5,100 outdoor fires annually. Leaks or breaks were primarily a problem with gas grills. Eleven percent of gas grill structure fires and 23% of outside gas grill fires were caused by leaks or breaks.
- Charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were involved in 1,100 home fires per year, including 600 structure fires and 500 outside fires annually.
Source: NFPA's Research, Data & Analytics Division
* Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA)
**Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, queried in April 2016
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