Palatine Fire Department Highlights Summer Grill Safety Stats As a Reminder to Use Care


Summer is here and grills are lighting up all across the country; and in July, Palatine Fire Department is reminding residents to take proactive measures to keep their summer barbecues safe and fun for everyone involved.

According to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA) seven out of every 10 adults in the U.S. have a grill or smoker. With a large portion of the country enjoying backyard cooking there is an increased risk of home fires.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has reported that fire departments across the U.S. responded to an annual average of 10,200 home fires involving grills, hibachis, or barbecues between
2013 and 2017. Of these fire incidents 4,500 were structure fires and 5,700 were outside or unclassified fires. These fires caused an annual average of 10 civilian deaths, 160 civilian injuries and
$123 million in direct property damage.

Grilling Mishaps by the Numbers

July is the peak month for grill fires (17%) including both structure, outdoor, or unclassified fires, followed by June (14%), May (13%) and August (12%).

In 2013-2017, an average of 19,000 patients per year went to emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills, with thermal burns accounting for half of them (CPSC 2016).

Children under five accounted for an average of 2,000 or 38% of the contact-type burns. These burns typically occurred when someone, often a child, bumped into, touched or fell on the grill,
grill part or hot coals.

Gas grills were involved in an average of 8,700 home fires per year, including 3,600 structure fires and 5,100 outdoor fires annually. Leaks or breaks were primarily a problem with gas
grills. Eleven percent of gas grill structure fires and 23% of outside gas grill fires were caused by leaks or breaks.

Charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were involved in 1,100 home fires per year, including 600 structure fires and 500 outside fires annually.

For more information on fire safety you can visit the Palatine Fire Department at or the National Fire Protection Association at



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Information modified from NU PROPERTY CASUALTY360°

Safe grilling tips from NU Property Casualty

Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors — no exceptions.

Always keep grills away from home, condo or apartment structures, decks, porches, the areas beneath roof eaves, garages, vehicles, mulch, and away from overhanging branches. Remember heat, not just direct flame, can cause ignition under the right circumstances. Also accidentally tipped over grills can spread hot charcoals and ignite flammable structures.

Keep proper grilling utensils and grilling mitts or BBQ Grill Gloves accessible nearby.

Always keep children and pets at least 3 feet from the grill area.

Keep grills clean by removing grease and fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grills.

Never leave grills unattended.

Always make sure grill lids are open before lighting.

Consider a charcoal chimney starter that allows you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel — instead of starter fluid or lighter fluid.

When using a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never use other flammable liquids, such as gasoline, which is much more reactive to flame and much more dangerous.

Keep charcoal fluid inaccessible by children and don’t store charcoal fluid near the heat source. Don’t store charcoal fluid in areas where direct sunlight or other combined heat sources could cause ignition in the storage location on excessively hot days.

If you use an electric charcoal starter with an extension cord, be sure to use an outdoor extension cord that is rated to safely handle an amount of amps that is higher than the amps used by the electric charcoal starter.

When grilling is completed, let the coals completely extinguish and cool before disposing the charcoals in a metal container. Don’t throw extinguished charcoals into a garbage can mixed with flammable materials, such as papers, wrappers and cardboard — even if you think the charcoals have been cooled.


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