May 27, 2020

Grill and Fire Pit Safety Tips

As the weather gets warmer and more cooking and family activities move outdoors, the New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board reminds families to include fire safety practices when using your grill or fire pit.

The U.S. Fire Administration reports that 57 percent of home grill fires occur between May and August. “Each year barbecue grills cause more than 10,000 home fires which result in an estimated $37 million in property loss,” said David Kurasz, Executive Director of NJFSAB. “Following a few simple safety tips such as placing grills and fire pits in locations safe distances from structures, and keeping a 3-foot child/pet safety zone around any open flames, can do a lot to prevent injury and protect your home from fire damage.”

Statistics show that nearly 50 percent of home grill fires occur between 5 and 8 p.m., and the locations where most grill fires occur are: patios, terraces, screened-in porches and courtyards.

Here are some safety tips from the U.S. Fire Administration and the National Fire Protection Association:


  • Always operate grills and fire pits outdoors – never in enclosed areas
  • Place at least 10 feet from home/structures
  • Never use grills near deck railings
  • Never leave open flames unattended
  • Keep a 3-foot safe zone around all open flames
  • Do not let children/pets run and play near open flames
  • Do not wear flammable clothing
  • Do not use flammable liquids to start fires
  • Keep a fire extinguisher, garden hose, or bucket filled with water nearby


  • 79% of all home grill fires involve gas grills
  • Clean grill before and after use to avoid flare-ups
  • Keep gas grill lid open before lighting to avoid gas build-up
  • Charcoal grill coals should be completely cooled before disposing in a metal container away from the structures
  • Check propane gas tank hoses for leaks – especially when changing the tank


  • Check with your local fire department or municipality to make sure fire pits are allowed.
  • Do not burn trash, leaves, paper, cardboard, or plywood.
  • Avoid using soft wood such as pine or cedar that likely pop and throw sparks, use seasoned hardwood or what is recommended by manufacturer.
  • Check manufacturer guidelines for properly extinguishing the fire.
  • Do not overload, make sure that the lid will still close to extinguish the fire in case of emergency.
  • Before you light the fire, check the wind direction.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission  at least 5,300 injuries related to fire pits or outdoor heaters were treated at emergency rooms in the U.S. in 2017.

“Awareness and prior planning now can go a long way towards protecting against injuries and reducing fire risks, so you and your family can safely enjoy delicious barbecues and cozy fire pits throughout the season,” noted Kurasz.

NJFSAB offers free fire safety and burn trailer demonstrations to community groups and schools. For more information visit www.SaveAndProtect.org or call: 1-866-226-6006.


Click here to view a grill fire safety tips infographic

Click here to view an NFPA video on grill fire safety 

Click here to view an NFPA video on checking for gas leaks on your grill

Click here to download reports and tables on home grill fires 

May 27, 2020

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