State Fire Marshall offers grilling tips as Illinois enters peak grill fire month

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by Melanie Jongsma

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (July 4, 2021) – July is the peak month for grill fires, according to the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM). 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. Thermal burns are the most common injury, with over 9,500 reported.

Illinois State Fire Marshal Matt Perez says, “We are seeing many reports of home structure fires caused by unattended grills or grills being placed and used too close to the house.” Perez encourages Illinois residents to follow proper guidelines to ensure safety.

  • Propane and charcoal grills should be used outdoors only
  • Grills should be placed away from the home or deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging tree branches
  • Children and pets should remain at least three feet away from the grilling area
  • Grills should be kept clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the racks and in trays below the grill
  • A grill should never be left unattended
  • Gas grills: The grill lid should be open before lighting the grill
  • Gas grills: The gas tank and hoses should be checked for leaks each time before using
  • Gas grills: If you smell gas while grilling, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department
  • Charcoal grills: Coals must be completely cool before disposing of them in a metal container

Other dangers

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. Chimineas, outdoor fireplaces, and fire pits should be positioned at least 10 feet away from the home or anything that can burn.

More information about grilling safety is available at: www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Seasonal-fire-causes/Grilling .