Okay, I will admit- I stole the headline for this blog post from reading an article on “This Old House”- so I’m crediting them right away. They actually have an article: 12 Ways your Backyard Barbecue Can Kill You which, as the title describes, outlines the darker side of barbecuing.
I stumbled across the “This Old House” blog when I was doing research on optimal grill placement. You see, all I really wanted to do with this blog is to warn you not to place your own grill too close to your house so that you don’t burn your house down or melt your siding.
The “This Old House” blog referenced the National Fire Protection Association, which gave me some statistics on home fires involving grills, hibachis, and barbecues. US fire departments respond to an average of 8,900 calls per year involving grills, including an average of 3,900 structure fires and 5,100 outside fires. These cause an annual average of 10 deaths, 160 injuries, and $118 million in property damage.
Five out of six grills involved in home fires were fueled by gas while 13% used charcoal or other solid fuel.
In 2014, 16,600 patients went to the emergency room because of injuries involving grills. More than half of the injuries were thermal burns.
32% of grill fires occur on patios, terraces, and screened in porches.
Really? Keep your grill out of your screened in porch, please.
Grills should be at least ten feet from something that will burn. This includes a ceiling.
Propane-related grilling accidents cause more than 6,000 fires and explosions annually, resulting in 20,000 ER visits and at least 20 deaths.
How to Stay Safe
- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors
- Keep children and pets away from grill area
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease and fat buildup from grills and in trays below grill
- Never leave grill unattended
- Pay attention to overhanging tree branches when you set up your grill.
- Make sure your grill is stable
- Check for propane leaks on your gas grill
- Be careful with charcoal starter fluid
- Wear the right clothing (don’t dangle sleeves or apron strings)
- Be ready to put out the fire (have baking soda or a fire extinguisher on hand)
- Remember that the grill will remain hot for a while after you are done using it
Lastly, if you are a renter and you intend to have a grill- please make sure you have renters insurance. Renters insurance doesn’t just cover your own stuff- but it is going to cover your liability in case you do burn the apartment. It will help pay for the neighbors stuff (even smoke damage is very expensive to fix) and it will help cover your liability to your land lord when he/she wants you to pay them back for repairing the building. Trust me, when all is said and done- even if you don’t think you own a lot of property (and thus, you think you don’t “need” renters insurance)- if you start your apartment on fire- paying for your own property is going to be the last of your worries once your landlord sues you to pay for the rebuild of the building. $15-$30/month is well worth it to be safe from that disaster.