The backyard barbeque has become a permanent fixture in many households. Sixty-two percent of Americans own a grill, and 8.3% grill 2-3 times per month, according to 2013 CNN Library data.

However, grilling requires precaution. In 2007-2011, there were an average of 8,800 home and outside fires involving gas and charcoal grills. These incidents “caused an annual average of 10 civilian deaths, 140 civilian injuries and $96 million in direct property damage.”

Next time you fire up the grill, keep the below safety tips in mind to avoid risk of injury or fire.

Grill Operation

Charcoal and gas grills each present their own safety risks:

  • Gas Grills: Before turning on your grill, ensure that hoses are properly connected and venture tubes are aligned. Gas is explosive and can be dangerous if not handled properly. Stay alert and cautious when lighting your gas grill. Roughly one third of gas grill injuries come from burns incurred while lighting.
  • Charcoal Grills: Burning charcoal releases carbon monoxide, a deadly, colorless and odorless gas. Prevent risk of carbon monoxide poisoning by grilling in a large, outdoor area.

Furthermore, much of the danger in both gas and charcoal grilling comes when reigniting the flame. If wind blows out the flame, wait a few minutes before reigniting. This will allow the flumes to dissipate and avoid an explosion.

Storage and Maintenance

Grills are for outdoor use only. Under no circumstance should they be used indoors or in your garage. Grills should be placed in a well-ventilated area on level ground, away from houses, fences, trees and other flammable items.

If possible, build a barrier between your grill and the rest of your yard. This will prevent children or pets from wandering near it. In addition, do not store starter logs or fluid near the grill. Doing so can cause or worsen a fire.

Grills should be cleaned after each use to avoid fat and food buildup. For a correctly cleaned grill in 15 minutes, use this robust checklist. If using a charcoal grill, let the ashes cool for at least 48 hours. Then, dispose of them in a non-combustible container.

Be Warned of Dangers

While you should never leave your grill unattended, it’s also smart to invest in fire alarms, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to be warned of dangerous situations.

Knowing the dangers associated with grilling will help you take preventative measures to avoid harm to you and your home. Stay safe, and happy grilling!

Image Source: Andrew Czap via Flickr