Backyard barbecues are a summer staple in American society. As soon as the weather warms, people in the Upstate area head outside to fire up those grills and cook a feast for family and friends. Many people, young and old, have fond memories of picnics around their backyard barbecues.
Fun can be had at these outings, but safety must remain a top concern. Fire and burn injuries are common when propane and charcoal grills are not handled correctly. Inexperience, distractions, alcohol and a wide range of other factors can contribute to serious or fatal burn injuries.
Grill Fire and Injury Statistics
- According to statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA): Grilling is responsible for an average of 8,800 home fires each year.
- Approximately 16 percent of these fires are caused when the barbecue is lit and result from an item or object being close enough to catch on fire.
- One in five grill fires stems from either a leak or broken piece of equipment.
- In one recent year, 16,900 people were treated in emergency departments for burn injuries associated with grills.
- Close to half of all burn injuries involving grills are a result of individuals sustaining thermal burns.
The summer months are when the majority of grill-related fires take place. However, individuals who grill year-round are at risk of getting burned or causing a fire any month of the year.
Backyard Barbecue Safety Tips
Taking certain precautions when operating a grill can not only make your grilling experience far more enjoyable, it can also minimize the dangers you and those around you may face. Follow these backyard barbecue safety tips to help you stay safe while grilling:
- Make sure to set your grill up on level ground, away from the house and any flammable materials such as trees, grass, garages, tents, patio chairs, umbrellas or other structures.
- Read the owner’s manual for your grill before use.
- Never grill when it is windy outside or the weather is bad.
- Never leave a lit grill unattended.
- Be prepared. Have a hose, bucket of water or fire extinguisher at hand in case of an emergency.
- Keep all children and pets away from the grill and grilling area.
- Refrain from consuming alcohol or taking medication, even prescription drugs, when grilling as these intoxicants can leave you drowsy or less able to react quickly.
- Never use propane or gas grills inside. These are for outdoor grilling only.
- Inspect your grill for tears, breaks or leaks prior to each use.
- Be sure to use long-handled utensils and gloves specifically rated for use with high-heat and open flames.
- Do not wear loose fitting clothing as it can easily catch on fire and lead to higher risk of burns.
- If you smell gas, back away and call 9-1-1.