We all know how great food from the grill is! Grilling safety, however, is something many people overlook. Grill related accidents cause an annual average of over 10,000 home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Many of these incidents are easily avoidable, by following some simple guidelines.

1. Be sure your grill is a safe distance from any structures.

The NFPA reports that more than a quarter of home fires started by outdoor grills actually began on a terrace or patio and even more started on an exterior balcony or open porch. Be sure to look out for overhanging tree branches when you set up your grill, as well.

2. Cleanliness goes a long way when it comes to safety.

Removing grease and fat build-up not only makes it safer, but also keeps your food tasting better!

3. Stability matters!

When choosing where to place your grill, make sure it is a flat surface, in order to keep your grill stable. You may want to consider using a grill mat/splatter pad underneath to protect the area underneath your grill.

4. When using charcoal fluid, be careful.

When using a charcoal grill, be sure to choose the right starter fluid. If the fire starts to go out, consider using a charcoal chimney starter. This method uses newspaper to start the fire, don’t add more starter fluid!

5. Check the hoses for any leaks or tears.

A simple test can be done by lightly coating the hose with a soap and water solution and turning the gas on. If there IS a leak, you should see some bubbling in that area.

6. An unattended grill is bad news!

Keep kids and pets away from the grill and never leave a lit grill unsupervised. Bear in mind that it takes around an hour for a grill to cool off, as well.

7. Be mindful of clothing.

It’s dangerously easy to catch all manner of clothing on fire. Take care to keep shirt sleeves, apron strings, even dish towels away from the heat as much as possible.

8. Wait 5 minutes before relighting if your flame goes out.

When using a gas grill, if the flame goes out, turn off both the grill and the gas for at least 5 minutes before relighting.

9. Know how to put a fire out before you begin!

A fire extinguisher is always the best option, though if you don’t have one, never fear! Water is not recommended, so keep a bucket of sand next to the grill, in order to extinguish out-of-control flames.

Share these tips with everyone in your home that uses the grill and keep your loved ones (and your home) safe!