Practice Safe Summer Grilling

For many families, Memorial Day kicks off the summer grilling season. While this means good food and great fun for many of us, it can also mean an increased risk of fires. Each year, more grill fires occur during the month of July than any other month.[1]  Grilling causes an average of 8,800 home fires each year, and in 2012, grilling injuries were the cause of 16,900 emergency room visits.[2] However, following some easy safety tips and precautions can help avoid home fires and grill injuries.

Most importantly, propane or charcoal grills should only be used outdoors.  This may seem obvious, but this means to avoid use in tents and other enclosed spaces.  Grilling in enclosed spaces is not only a fire hazard, but can also cause a buildup of dangerous gas that may cause asphyxiation.[3]  It is also important to keep grills away from any structures, like houses, deck railings, or even tree branches.[4] Some other simple tips include, keeping your grill clean, never leaving a grill unattended, and keeping children and pets a safe distance from the grill.[5]  For more safety tips and ways to avoid grill fires and burns, visit

Propane Grill Safety Tips

Propane or gas grills are the cause of the majority of grill fires.  Specifically, four out of five home fires caused by grilling are attributed to gas grills.[6]  Gas tanks and gas lines are part of the reason why gas grills cause so many fires.  This is because leaks and breaks in the gas line are the most common cause of gas grill fires.[7]  To avoid risks of a leak or break in your line, check gas hoses each year before grilling season.[8]  Applying mild soap and water to the gas hose is an easy way to test for leaks.  If there is a leak, the leaking propane will cause bubbles to form on the hose.[9]  For more information on what to do if you have a gas hose leak, visit

Charcoal Grill Safety Tips

Charcoal grills are responsible for fewer grill fires than gas grills, but are still involved in an average of 1,400 home fires each year.[10]  The biggest hazards associated with charcoal grills are flammable items left too close to the grill and using starter fluid to start the grill.[11]  You should always keep flammable items a safe distance (at least three feet) from the grill.[12]  It is also important to buy the appropriate charcoal starter fluid, and use it properly.[13]  This means never add starter fluid after a fire is already ignited, and always keep starter fluid a safe distance away from the grill and children.[14]


While grill fires and injuries are a serious risk, you can enjoy summer backyard barbecues safely by following simple precautions.  For more information or more safety tips, visit

About The Author: Chris Jones is an attorney with Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen. He works out of the Richmond, VA office and has dedicated his practice to plaintiff’s personal injury law. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Chris worked as a high school teacher. His experience as an educator enables him to explain complex legal issues clearly to juries as well as his clients.


[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] See id.

[5] Id.

[6] Id.


[8] Id.

[9] Id.


[11] Id.

[12] Id.

[13] Id.

[14] Id.