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Hot Tips for BBQ

According to the US Fire Administration, every year barbecue grills cause approximately 6,500 fires. The peak month for grill fires? July.

The top ignition factor, accounting for 43% of grill fires, is mechanical failure or malfunction, such as part failure, leak, break or lack of maintenance. Other ignition factors include:

Misuse of heat of ignition - such as lack of control of open fire and abandoned materials
Misuse of material ignited - such as combustible material being too close to heat
Operating deficiency - primarily leaving the grill unattended
With proper maintenance, inspection and vigilance, however, many outdoor grill fires can be prevented. Here are some top BBQ do's and don'ts:


  • Operate BBQ outdoors only, 10 feet from house, garage and trees;
  • Maintain your BBQ by replacing rusted or worn hoses and fittings;
  • Test for leaks and check tubes for blockage;
  • Keep lid open when lighting gas grill, to prevent flash off from gas build-up;
  • Turn BBQ off if you smell gas and don't attempt to relight until the leak is fixed;
  • Keep alcohol away from grills;
  • Use baking soda on grease fires - not water - and keep the proper fire extinguisher handy;
  • Cap lighter fluid immediately and place it a safe distance from the grill.


  • Leave an operating barbecue unattended;
  • Move an operating BBQ;
  • Wear loose or flowing clothing while tending to the BBQ;
  • Use gasoline or kerosene as a starter;
  • Store LP cylinders indoors;
  • Store spare cylinders near the grill or appliances.

In case of fire:

  • For propane grills - turn off the burner
  • For charcoal grills - close the lid
  • For electric grills - turn off power
  • If the fire involves a propane tank:
    Leave it,
    Evacuate the area, and
    Call the fire department immediately (911).