Summer Safety: Grilling Safety Tips

There’s nothing like the smell of a grill on a warm summer day! It’s the perfect time for families and friends to gather and enjoy backyard games and grilled cuisine. It’s also that time of the year when we hear about injuries sustained from unsafe practices related to outdoor cooking accidents. It’s important to maintain safety all season with proper measures to keep you, your home, and your family safe!

Infograph on grilling safety from Napa

Grilling Safety Tips Resource

Grilling and outdoor cooking is a summertime favorite. Being prepared for an unexpected grilling accident is important. Practicing safe cooking protocols is imperative to keeping everyone safe. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 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. During that same period, an average of 22,155 patients per year went to emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills.

Grilling Safety Tips from the NFPA:

  • Certain areas have restrictions regarding campfires and grills. Check if your area has any fire restrictions in place. Choose only those areas where fires are permitted.
  • Check the fire danger rating in your area to determine if weather or other factors make it dangerous to light a fire.

Charcoal Grilling Tips:

Best Grilling Safety Tips to Start a Charcoal Grill:

  • Charcoal chimney starters allow you to ignite the charcoal using newspaper as fuel. If you use a charcoal chimney, use a long match to avoid burning your fingers when lighting the paper.
  • If you choose to use lighter fluid, use only fluid intended for charcoal grills.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid to coals or kindling that has already been ignited.
  • Never use gasoline or any other flammable liquid except charcoal starter or lighter fluid to start a charcoal fire.
steak grilling with a flame

Best Grilling Safety Tips to Cook Over Charcoal:

  • Place the grill well away from overhanging branches according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Place the grill at a safe distance from lawn games, play areas, and foot traffic.
  • Keep children and pets, and anything that can burn like food wrappers, an oven mitt or towel, at least 3-feet away from open flames and the grill.
  • Use long-handled grilling tools to give the chef plenty of clearance from heat and flames.
  • Always have an adult present when a campfire or grill is burning. Keep the fire small and never leave a fire unattended!

Best Grilling Safety Tips toDispose of Charcoal After Cooking

  • Before going to sleep or leaving the area, douse the fire with water and make sure the area is cool to the touch.
  • Five percent of outside or unclassified grill fires occurred in a lawn, field or open area .
  • Empty the coals into a metal container with a tight-fitting lid that is used only to collect coals.
  • Place the container outside and away from anything that can burn.
  • Never empty coals directly into a trash can.
  • Store the charcoal starter fluid out of reach of children and away from the heat source.
have a fire extinguisher available while grilling

Practice Good Grilling Safety Tips to Avoid Being a Statistic

In addition, never allow children to operate the grill and keep the grill away from anything that could easily ignite and spread, such as building structures, branches, or loose clothing items. Be sure to add a fire extinguisher to your grill setup to respond quickly to any unforeseen fires. 

Follow the safety tips from the NFPA and have a safe summer and enjoy the grilling experience!

Charcoal Grilling Safety Shopping List:

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