Grilling It Up Safely

Did you know that July is the peak month for grill fires and burns?

The U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates 18,000 Americans are admitted to emergency rooms every year due to grill-related incidents– including about 10 who die from serious burns.   Most serious burn cases occur when clothing catches fire after someone squirts too much or the wrong fuel on a charcoal grill.  Lighting your grill is when one third of all burns occur, the CPSC reports.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments respond to an average of 8,600 fires involving grills, hibachis, or barbecues every year.  Forty percent of the time the fire is serious enough to ignite a home even though the griller often tells firefighters they thought their grill was safely outdoors.

That’s the most important reason you use grills outside only. Make sure you are grilling in a well-ventilated area. Gas and charcoal grills cause carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.  There were an estimated average of eight CO-related deaths per year between 2005 and 2007 associated with charcoal grills that were used indoors or in enclosed spaces, the CPSC reports.

If you aren’t cooking, keep a safe distance from any charcoal or gas grill.  Those who aren’t cooking can get burned, too.

ER doctors say guests and family members wind up with blistered feet and toes when they step on fire pit charcoals that were still hot.   Charcoal when ignited reaches 700 degrees. Others are burned when unsteady grills collapse, spewing hot coals onto their legs or tossing sizzling food into their laps.  Keep pets at a safe distance, as well.

The sides and top of enclosed gas grills also reach 600 degrees or more, according to the Barbeque Forum.

Proper disposal of ashes and coals is something to prepare in advance for– coals dumped into a garbage can start a fire.  They can remain hot enough to ignite nearby materials for 24 hours, according to

Finally, before you start to cook you should take a moment and go online to ensure your grill has not been deemed unsafe.  Check the recall status on your grill at  In the United States ever year, nearly 15 million grills are shipped.  In the past few years 24 models have been recalled, the CPSC reports, including 663,000 grills with faulty burners shipped to Lowes two years ago by a single maker.  If your grill has been recalled, contact the manufacturer and stop using it until you get a repair or replacement.

We hope this information helps ensure a burn, blister or fire doesn’t ruin your summer cookout.


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