Americans love to BBQ in the warm weather so that makes summer the season of BBQ accidents. Without due care, the seemingly benign act of grilling your dinner can end in tragedy. Every year dozens of people are injured in hundreds of fires that occur because of grilling accidents.

BBQ Accident Statistics

According to the NFPA, American fire departments are called to over 1,600 BBQ related home fires per year. This includes hundreds of structural and outdoor fires, resulting in millions of dollars worth of direct property damage.

In 2009 alone, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 18,000 people wound up in a hospital emergency room with burns and blisters suffered in grilling-related accidents [source: Aleccia]. Although some were minor injuries, some were fatal. BBQ safety is important!

Leading Causes of BBQ Related Injuries

According to, the leading cause of injures and fire from gas grills is leaking fuel lines from incorrectly connected, cracked or broken hoses.

Misaligned venturi tubes release unlit propane that can quickly build up and cause an explosion. Thankfully newer model gas grills are vented to stop gas from building up inside the cabinet but accidents could still occur. It is advisable to turn off the propane tank when you are finished cooking to prevent gas leaks.

Burning charcoal releases carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas. The United States suffered twenty deaths directly caused by carbon monoxide poisoning from charcoal grilling last year.

Lighter fluids are handy but they can also be highly dangerous. The majority of accidents from lighter fluid are caused by an attempt to relight charcoal.

BBQ Safety Guidelines

Be prepared to fight a fire. That means knowing how to use and having access to a fire extinguisher or being prepared to throw water and step back from the flames.

Be aware of your BBQs location! Open space is best. Keep your grill far away from anything flammable including houses and fences. If flames suddenly burst out of your BBQ you don’t want to be under a low, flammable overhang.

Keep flammable materials away from your grill. Most obviously, don’t keep lighter fluid around your BBQ as the can could explode if it gets too hot. NEVER add lighter fluid or any flammable liquid to a burning fire.

Use the 10 to 5 rule to light the BBQ. If the grill does not start within 10 seconds, turn off the gas, leave the lid open and give it five minutes before you try again. Propane gas can develop into a large, flammable cloud quickly.

Check gas lines for leaks before lighting the flame. A good trick to check for leaking fuel lines is to brush soapy water over the hoses and connectors. Make sure you go over every part of the gas line from the tank to the burner and replace any leaking parts before you grill again.

Make sure that the fire is out when you are done. On a gas BBQ, turn off the control and tank valves, making sure that any burning grease is put out and the grill is cooled completely before closing the lid. On a charcoal grill, close the lid and all vents. Let the used charcoal burn out and wait about 48 hours before disposing of ashes.

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!

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