Often considered the unofficial kick-off to summer, Memorial Day weekend includes lots of celebrations, cookouts, and barbeques. But it also means the increased risk of grilling fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association, on average, 10,600 home fires are started by grills each year!  Failing to properly clean and maintain the grill, leaving food unattended, and placing a grill too close to anything that can burn are significant fire hazards.

The Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System along with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) offers these recommendations for enjoying a fire-safe grilling season:

  • For propane grills, check the gas tank for leaks by applying a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If it’s leaking, turn off the gas tank and the grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it. If the leak does not stop, call 911.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
  • Place the grill at least 15ft from the home, away from siding, deck railings and anything flammable, and a safe distance from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
  • Keep children and pets at least 3ft away from the grilling area and never leave a grill unattended.
  • If you use starter fluid when charcoal grilling, only use charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
  • When you a finished grilling, let the coals cool completely before disposing in a metal container.

As the Memorial Day weekend fast-approaches, take the time to inspect your grill and ensure you have a safe location for using it!

*Source: National Fire Protection Association  & Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System