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.