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Safely Fire Up Your Backyard Grill

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Safely Fire Up Your Backyard Grill

Do you love the sound of sizzling amidst the tantalizing smell of savory meats? Maybe you prefer a rainbow of colorful veggies on skewers, roasted to perfection. And who can resist sweet s’mores, bubbling with toasted marshmallow goodness? Yes, grilling season is here!

man woman and child cooking food on the grill

But while backyard BBQs are a fun way to gather with friends and family to enjoy delicious food and make lasting memories, this American pastime also comes with potential hazards.

By taking a few precautions and following some sensible safety tips, however, you can prevent injuries to those in attendance as well as protect against damage to your home and property.

All grills

  • No matter which kind of grill you prefer, stationing it on a flat surface, at least 10 feet away from your home, including balconies, porches, walls and decks, is imperative. In fact, the U.S. Fire Administration notes in their most recent report1 that 32% of residential grill fires begin on patios, porches and terraces.
  • A clean, well-maintained grill is a safe grill that can provide delicious meals for years to come. Routine cleaning prevents the buildup of grease and other residue which, if left to accumulate, can prevent the grill from circulating heat and reaching its proper temperature. Iconic home and décor guru Martha Stewart recommends cleaning your grill one to two times a month and provides tips for cleaning a grill optimally.2
  • Always keep a fire extinguisher near your grilling area and learn how it works so you’ll be ready to use it if the need arises.
  • Establish a three-foot safety zone around your grill to make sure children and pets can’t get too close. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) offers free resources including a Kid-Free Zone Marker3 that you can print and post as a helpful safety reminder.

Charcoal grills

  • Use your charcoal grill only in an area that is well-ventilated. Inhaling too much smoke4 can cause injuries and potentially lead to dizziness and fainting.
  • When lighting coals, use lighter fluid first, then add the fire. Placing lighter fluid directly onto hot coals can be risky – you don’t want to create an opportunity for flames to travel back up to the source and burn you. And remember, gasoline and kerosene5 are never appropriate fuels to use with grills as they are volatile and can explode.
  • Protect your hands while using the grill with flame-retardant mitts and barbecue tongs. Charcoal grills can reach temperatures up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit.6
  • Just because you’re done grilling, doesn’t mean the coals are done burning. Make sure coals burn out completely and cool off fully before disposing of them. In fact, it’s best to wait 48 hours7 before discarding the ashes.

Gas grills

The takeaway

Whether you prefer to grill in the spring when the weather is warm and welcoming, in the summer when everyone loves to be outdoors, or even in the fall or winter when Texas weather tends to remain relatively mild, safety should always be a priority.

By taking a few preventive measures, along with ensuring you have the right homeowners insurance coverage in the event of a grill accident, you can relax and enjoy every bit of that backyard BBQ fun.

When it comes to protecting what matters most, count on RBFCU Insurance Agency to help you explore homeowners insurance coverage options, or to provide a courtesy review of your existing policy for added peace of mind. Request a quote today.*

Last updated March 2024

Information in this article is general in nature and for your consideration, not as financial advice. Please contact your own financial professionals regarding your specific needs before taking any action based upon this information.

RBFCU Insurance Agency LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of RBFCU Services LLC. RBFCU Services LLC is affiliated with Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union (RBFCU). Insurance products are not deposits; are not obligations of the credit union; not NCUA insured; and not guaranteed by RBFCU Insurance Agency LLC, RBFCU Services LLC or RBFCU.

RBFCU Insurance Agency is an independent insurance agency. It is the role of the RBFCU Insurance Agent to obtain quotes from multiple carriers and offer comparisons to determine adequate insurance coverage.

Insurance coverage, discounts and other features are subject to individual eligibility and availability.

*RBFCU Insurance Agency LLC contracted with Vertafore, Inc. to access a Vertafore product called Consumer Rate Quotes. (“CRQ”). By using CRQ, you agree to these Terms of Use (“Terms”). Please read these Terms carefully as they contain legal terms that govern your use of this product.

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The following resources were last accessed February 2024.

1U.S. Fire Administration. Grill Fires on Residential Properties, May 2010,

2Preli, Michelle and Kelly, Alexandra. “How to Clean a Grill the Right Way.”, September 22, 2023,

3The National Fire Protection Association. Grilling Safety, 2023,

4,11Burn and Reconstructive Centers of America. Charcoal and Gas Grill Safety Tips, July 29, 2022,

5,7Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association. Charcoal Grill Safety, 2023,

6Institute for Advanced Study. Propane or Charcoal Grill, 2023,

8Propane Council of Texas. Gas Grill Spring Cleaning, May 4, 2020,

9Texas Department of Insurance. Grill Tips for Your Next Tailgate or Cookout, February 24, 2023,

10Warwick, Sarah. “Are Gas Grills Safe? Get the Knowledge You Need for Trouble-free Grilling.” Homes and Gardens, May 1, 2023,