Backyard barbecue safety tips

  • Published
  • 341st Civil Engineer Squadron Fire and Emergency Services Flight
Seven out of every 10 adults in the U.S. have a grill or smoker, which leads to a lot of tasty meals. But it also means there’s an increased risk of home fires.

In 2013-2017, fire departments went to an annual average of 10,200 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues per year, including 4,500 structure fires and 5,700 outside or unclassified fires. These fires caused an annual average of 10 civilian deaths, 160 civilian injuries and $123 million in direct property damage.

To make sure your next barbecue doesn't go up in flames, the 341st Civil Engineer Squadron Fire and Emergency Services Fire Prevention Office recommends the following safety tips:

• Before using, position your grill at least 10 feet away from any structure.

• Designate the grilling area a "No Play Zone." Keep children and pets well away until grill equipment is completely cool.

• Never leave barbecue grill unattended and have a water spray bottle on hand to reduce flames should excessive grease drip down on burners.

• Only use starter fluid made for barbecue grills when starting a fire in a charcoal grill. NEVER USE GASOLINE. An explosion will occur.

• Before using a gas grill, check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line to be sure it is working properly and not leaking. Check connections using a small spray bottle with soapy water to find your leaks. If found, repair before using the grill.

• Never bring a barbecue grill indoors, or into any unventilated space including the garage. This is both a fire hazard & potential carbon monoxide poisoning hazard.

• Never dump charcoal briquettes into dumpster until they have been thoroughly soaked with water and cooled for 24 hours.

Should you have any questions concerning your grill, contact the fire prevention office at 731-4836 or 731-4100.