July is the peak month for fires related to grilling

By: ohrie

SPRINGFIELD – The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal is reminding residents to practice safe grilling habits this summer. July is the peak month for grill fires followed by June, May and August. The National Fire Protection Association, reports around 64% of U.S. households own at least one outdoor BBQ, grill or smoker. Gas grills contribute to a higher number of fires than charcoal grills. On average, 10,200 home fires are started by a grill each year. Annually, 19,700 patients visit the emergency room with injuries caused from grilling.

“Safety should always be a top priority when firing up the grill, not only during the holiday weekend, but every time you plan to cook. Following a few simple safety steps listed below will help to keep your celebrations safe and free from any accidental fires,” said OSFM Operations Chief Dale Simpson.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal advises everyone to take these steps to help ensure a safe summer filled with everyone’s favorite grilled foods:

  • Propane and charcoal grills should only be used outdoors
  • The grill should be placed away from the home or deck railings, and out from under eaves of your home and overhanging tree branches
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet 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
  • Always make sure gas grill lid is open before lighting it
  • Check the gas tank on your propane grills and hoses for leaks each time before using
  • If you smell gas while grilling, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department
  • Make sure charcoal grill coals are cool before disposing of them in a metal container Always have a fire extinguisher, bucket of water or garden hose nearby or know where you can access one quickly

Bonfires, pit fires and campfires can also create fire safety dangers during the summer months. Campfires need to be built at least 25 feet way from tents, shrubs and anything that can burn. Make sure fires are allowed in the area that you are camping. Use of chimineas, outdoor fireplaces and fire pits need to be at least 10 feet away from your home or anything that can burn.