“While grilling can be a fun activity during summer time, it
could also post a potential risk for serious injuries or fires if
basic safety steps are not followed,” said State Fire Marshal Larry
Matkaitis. “Outdoor cooking involves much more than just dusting off
the grill. It’s important to inspect gas lines and other features on
the grill to ensure safety while cooking meals.”
In 2013, in Illinois 91 fires were ignited by grills, according to
OSFM data. The most current report from the National Fire Protection
Association (NFPA), indicates that in U.S. gas grills were involved
in an annual average of 7,200 home fires between 2007 and 2011. An
additional average of 1,400 home fires involved the use of charcoal
or other solid-fueled grills during the same period.
The OSFM offers the following grill safety tips:
- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills must only be used outdoors.
Using grills in an enclosed space could expose occupants to
toxic gases and potential asphyxiation.
- Position grills well away from siding, deck railings, and
out from under eaves and tree branches.
- Place the grill at a safe distance from lawn games, play
areas, and foot traffic.
- Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
- Designate a three foot “safe zone” around the grill.
- Use long-handled grilling tools for plenty of clearance from
heat and flames.
- Remove grease or fat buildup in trays below grill.
- Do not apply aerosol sun screen lotion before grilling. Read
the instructions as some sun block lotions may not be used near
heat or flame.
- Never leave the grill unattended.
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Safety tips for charcoal grills:
- Purchase the proper started fluid and store the can out of
reach of children, and away from heat sources.
- Never add charcoal fluid when coals or kindling have already
Never use any flammable or combustible liquid other than
charcoal starter fluid to start a grill fire.
- When done grilling, wet coals and make sure they are
completely cool before disposing.
Safety tips for propane grills:
- Check the gas cylinder hose for leaks before using for
the first time each year. A light soap and water solution
applied to the hose will quickly reveal escaping propane by
- If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and
wait at least 15 minutes before re- lighting it.
- If a gas smell is detected while cooking, immediately
get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not
attempt to move the grill.
- Use only equipment with the label of a recognized
testing laboratory. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions
on how to set up the grill and maintain it.
For more information about grilling safety, please visit
the OSFM’s website at
[Text received; LARRY MATKAITIS,
ILLINOIS STATE FIRE MARSHAL]