Backyard Injury Prevention: Safe Grilling Tips for Summer BBQs

The combination of fire, fuel and hot metal can be a disaster if you do not take the proper precautions. Grills can kill.

Temperatures have increased in this week, and summer is officially in full swing in San Diego County. If you, like some many others, are planning to cook on a backyard grill this summer, you should understand the risks involved, and what you need to do to prevent injuries and keep your home safe while barbecuing and grilling.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, July is the peak month for grill fires. Between 2004 and 2008, US fire departments responded to nearly 8,000 home fires involving barbecues, grills, smokers, or hibachis.  The combination of fire, fuel and hot metal can be a disaster if you do not take the proper precautions. Like so many other household injuries, many grilling-related injuries can be prevented with preparation and education.

Backyard Grilling Statistics and Facts

Grills fires can ignite in an instant, leading to serious injury, death, or devastating property damage.  The following statistics are sobering.

  • The Home Safety Council reports that fires and burns are the third leading cause of unintentional injuries and related deaths.
  • The National Fire Protection Association reports that on average, grill fires cause 13 deaths, 120 injuries, and $70 million in property damage.
  • Four of every five grills involved in home fires (81 percent) were fueled by gas while 17 percent used charcoal or other solid fuel.
  • Children under fie account for approximate 22 percent of burn injuries involving grills.


Preventing BBQ Related-Injuries

  • Never Leave Your Grill Unattended: You can stop a fire before it starts by keeping a close eye on your BBQ. 
  • Choose The Right Location: Keep children and pets away from your grill, and keep your grill away from flammable objects, such as leaves and wood. Always grill in a well-ventilated area. Never grill inside a home, garage, carport, tent or camper.
  • Keep Your Grill Clean: Grease collects in your grill when you cook, and builds up over time. A few pounds of grease can easily build up after several cookouts. Regardless of whether you your grill is gas or charcoal, flare-ups can cause serious injury or even death. Get the grease out and keep your grill clean.
  • Be Prepared to Put Out a Fire:  Every home should be equipped with at least one fire extinguisher. If you plan on grilling in your back yard, you definitely need a fire extinguisher. You can purchase one at Walmart for about $30. Keep it accessible and know how to use it.
  • Use The Right Tools: Protect yourself from burn injuries while handling hot food. Use long-handled tongs and spatulas with heat-resistant handles.
  • Stay Sober While Grilling: Because grilling requires attention and awareness, your best bet is to save that beer or cocktail until after the food is cooked and the grill is turned off. 
  • Follow Manufacturer Instructions:  Your grill likely came with some model-specific recommendations and restrictions. Do not assume that all grills are the same, or your new grill operates just like your last one. Read the manual that came with your grill before you use it.


To learn more about how to stay safe when barbecuing and grilling, visit the National Fire Protection Association’s Grill Fires Fact Sheet, the Home Safety Council’s Fire Prevention Tips, or About.com’s Top 10 Safety Tips on Barbecuing & Grilling.

If you have been injured by a defective grill and would like to know your rights in a product liability claim, contact a San Diego personal injury attorney.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on backyard cookout safety. Have you ever witnessed a grill fire or been injured by one? Please share your comments below.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jayden Eden June 03, 2014 at 06:13 PM
Following instructions is the best way to avoid injury. I hope that my grill comes with instructions when I buy it. I haven't really used one before. Jayden Eden | http://www.dodgeandaltamura.com/personal-injury.html


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