Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, and many families will host gatherings centered around the barbecue. But does your family have a grill safety plan to prevent your grill from starting a fire?

The National Fire Protection Association reported between 2011 and 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 9,600 home fires involving grills, hibachis, or barbecues per year. Whether it’s grilling hot dogs, or a master chef searing the perfect steak, you should know how to keep your backyard, and your home, safe.

Keep your grill cleaned. An uncleaned grill causes roughly one out of five fires. Scraping off the grill grate is a simple task you can do both before and after cooking to limit the dangers.

 

Have your grill at a safe distance from your home. Eleven percent of structure fires were due to an outside wall catching fire. Keep the grill at least 10 feet from your house, and make sure the area is adequately ventilated.

 

Check for gas leaks when using a propane grill. Gas grills were involved in nearly 8,000 home fires per year, including 3,300 structure fires. Of those structure fires, 12 percent were caused by leaks or breaks. Do not light the grill is you smell excessive gas.

 

Alternatively, use the proper amount of lighter fluid or other fuel when using a charcoal grill. Charcoal and other solid-fuel grills accounted for 1,300 home fires per year, half of which were structure fires, while the other half were outside fires.

 

Never leave your grill unattended. Cooking requires attention, and barbecuing is no exception, says the NFPA.

Know the dangers when it comes to grill safety, and have a plan to prevent grill fires this summer. For more information on fire prevention, contact a fire safety expert at Brigade Fire Systems on Safety Drive in Belmont, Michigan.