U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 8,200 home fires involving grills, hibachis, or barbeques per year from 2005 to 2009, according to the National Fire Protection Association.


U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 8,200 home fires involving grills, hibachis, or barbeques per year from 2005 to 2009, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Those annual calls included about 3,400 structure fires and 4,800 outside fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association’s Home Fires involving Cooking Equipment report. These fire incidents resulted in an annual average of 15 civilian deaths, 120 reported civilian injuries and $75 million in direct property damage.

“As summer approaches, the threat of grilling fires is becoming more prevalent,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of communications. “Although grilling fires are more common in warmer months, it is important to remember that grilling fires do occur throughout the entire year and simple steps can be taken to avoid them.”

July is the peak month for grills fires, accounting for 18 percent of all home fires involving grills, including both structure and outside fires. June and May follow closely with 14 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

The NPD group reports that more people are grilling all year round, showing that 38 percent of American households had at least one meal cooked on an outdoor grill in an average two-week period during the year. Even in the winter months of December, January and February 27 percent had eaten at least one grilled item in a two-week period.

“Grilling during the warmer months, or throughout the year, is a welcome sight at cookouts,” Carli said. “But fire anywhere else can make your barbeque memorable for all the wrong reasons. By reviewing grilling safety tips this season and taking precautions, you can prevent home grilling fires.”

Other key findings in this report include:
Five out of every six grills involved in home fires (84 percent) were fueled by gas while 13 percent used charcoal or other solid fuel.
More than one quarter (29 percent) of the home structure fires involving grills started on a courtyard, terrace or patio.
In 2009, 17,700 patients went to the emergency room because of injuries involving grills.
Children under the age of five account for almost one-quarter (22 percent) of all thermal grill burns.


NFPA is offers the following safety tips:
Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
Keep children and pets away from the grilling area.
Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
Never leave your grill unattended.

For more information, visit www.nfpa.org/grilling.