Glendale, Ariz.–– With Memorial Day weekend approaching fast and graduation party dates set in stone, many people will use backyard barbecues.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, from 2009-2013, gas and charcoal grills caused on average 3,900 structure fires and 5,100 outdoor fires in or on home properties, resulting in a combined direct property loss of $118 million, a substantial increase from previous years.
Although July is the peak month for fires caused by barbecue grills, these types of fires can happen at any time throughout the year.
The Glendale Fire Department has several safety reminders to ensure a safe and memorable experience at any barbecue you attend:
• Position the grill away from siding, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches and away from play areas and foot traffic.
• Keep children and pets away from the grill area with a three-foot “safe zone.”
• Use long-handled grilling tools for plenty of clearance from heat and flames when flipping burgers.
• Remove grease or fat buildup in trays below grill so a hot grill cannot ignite it.
• For charcoal grills, purchase the proper starter fluid and store out of reach of children and away from heat sources.
• For propane grills, check the propane cylinder hose for leaks before using it. A light soap and water solution applied to the hose will quickly reveal escaping propane by releasing bubbles and have leaking fuel lines repaired before using.
• Never store propane cylinders in buildings or garages. If you store a gas grill inside during the winter, disconnect the cylinder and leave it outside.
• Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited, and never use any flammable or combustible liquid other than charcoal starter fluid to get the fire going.
• Placing combustibles too close to heat and leaving cooking unattended are the two leading causes of charcoal grill home fires.
• Half of all gas grills and charcoal grill home fires begin on an exterior balcony or unenclosed porch. Wall coverings, exterior trim, and plants are the leading items first ignited in home outdoor charcoal grill fires.