Grilling up safety

Grilling up safety

Each year fire departments respond to thousands of home grill fires, which end up causing millions of dollars in property damage, not to mention serious burns– that’s a bit unsettling. With Labor Day coming up, Susan Helms, director of Injury Prevention and Safe Kids Mid-South, offers some key tips for making grilling out safe.


  • Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings, out from under eaves and overhanging branches and a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic.
  • Grill only outdoors! If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces such as garages or tents, barbecue grills pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to carbon monoxide.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area by declaring a 3-foot "kid-free zone" around the grill. Always actively supervise children around outdoor grills.

The right tools in the right places

  • Avoid wearing loose clothing while cooking at a grill.
  • When cooking food, use long-handled grilling tools to give plenty of clearance from heat and flames.
  • Be careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire because the flames can flash back up into the container and explode.
  • Keep all matches and lighters away from children. Teach your children to report any loose matches or lighters to an adult immediately.
  • Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.

Remember to always have your grill attended while you are cooking. The No. 1 cause of residential fires is unattended cooking. Sounds like a lot to remember, but these are small things to do to take full advantage of the last days of summer, keep food tasting good and our families safe.

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