Outdoor Grilling Safety

Summer Grilling Safety Tips

Summertime is peak grilling time but May through August is also peak time for grill fires according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Some basic knowledge and precautions can help you avoid an emergency-room visit.



Take inventory. Make sure your grill is stable and won't tip over. If you’re using propane, give your grill station a once-over before you fire it up. Check and tighten the major connections points between the tank hose and the regulator and cylinder first, and then inspect for leaks. The NFPA recommends applying a light soap and water solution to the hose using a brush or spray bottle and turning the propane tank on. If you see bubbles appearing around the hose, you’ve got a leak. Turn off the tank immediately and have your grill serviced by a professional before attempting to use it again. If you still see leaks (or smell gas) after the tank is turned off, move away from the grill and call the fire department.

Keep it burning. If your flame goes out while you’re grilling, turn off the burners and the tank. You may be out of propane. If you know you have propane in the tank, wait at least 5 minutes before trying to relight the grill.

Stay at your station. Never leave a grill — charcoal or gas — unattended while you’re using it. Designate someone to be your runner if you need to go back and forth between the kitchen and the grill.

Keep it clean. We know Dad loves his seasoned cast-iron skillet (don’t you dare put it in the dishwasher), but grills are a different story. As that crusted-on, carbonized fat clinging to your grates heats up again, it’ll melt and drip into the flames, which can cause flare-ups. So, put that fancy grill brush you got for Christmas to good use.

Distance your grill. Your grill should always be placed away from siding, railings, eaves, and any overhanging branches or brush. A single ember can ignite a surface very easily in dry conditions. And always keep children and pets away from any area where dangerous chemicals (charcoal starter fluid and propane) and hot surfaces are in use.

Arm yourself. Make sure you’ve got heavy duty oven mitts and potholders to handle the hot stuff. Avoid wearing clothes that might dangle too closely to the grill, such as billowy shirt sleeves and aprons with long ties.  And always have an operational fire extinguisher and a first-aid kit at the ready.




Before you get to grilling, call your local agent to ensure you’ve got a comprehensive homeowners’ policy.

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The information included in this publication was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, however Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company and its employees make no guarantee of results and assume no liability in connection with any training, materials, suggestions or information provided. It is the user’s responsibility to confirm compliance with any applicable local, state or federal regulations. Information obtained from or via Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company should not be used as the basis for legal advice or other advice, but should be confirmed with alternative sources.