Barbecue Grilling Safety

New Hampshire State Fire Code

The New Hampshire State Fire Code regulates the use and storage of grills. National Fire Protection Association 1, Section 10.11-7 states:

For other than one- and two-family dwellings, no hibachi, gas-fired grill, charcoal grill, or other similar devices used for cooking, heating, or any other purpose, shall be used or kindled on any balcony or under any overhanging portion or within 10 feet (3 meters) of any structure. Listed electric ranges, grills, or similar electrical apparatus shall be permitted.

Tips When Barbecuing

  1. Before Barbecuing
  2. During Barbecuing
  3. After Barbecuing
  • Check your grill thoroughly for leaks, cracking or brittleness before using it.
  • Clean out the tubes that lead into the burner.
  • Don't use grills in a garage, porch, deck or on top of anything that can catch on fire.
  • Have a fire extinguisher, a garden hose attached to a water supply, or at least 16 quarts of water close by in case of a fire.
  • Keep children away from fires and grills. It is a good idea to establish a safety zone around the grill and instruct children to remain outside the zone. A chalk line works great for this purpose.
  • Make sure the grill is at least 10 feet away from your house, garage, or trees.
  • Store and use your grill on a large flat surface that cannot burn (i.e.- concrete or asphalt).

In Case of a Barbecue Fire

  1. For propane grills, turn off the burners. For charcoal grills, close the grill lid. Disconnect the power to electric grills.
  2. For propane grills, if you can safely reach the tank valve, shut it off.
  3. If the fire involves the tank, leave it alone, evacuate the area and call the fire department (911). If there is any type of fire that either threatens your personal safety or endangers property, always dial 911.
  4. Never attempt to extinguish a grease fire with water. It will only cause the flames to flare up. Use an approved portable fire extinguisher.

Tips for Different Types of Grills

  1. Charcoal Grills
  2. Electric Grills
  3. Propane Grills
  • Always soak coals with water after cooking; they retain their heat for long periods of time.
  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that every year about 20 deaths and 400 injuries are treated resulting from carbon monoxide poisoning from charcoal grills.
  • Due to the production of carbon monoxide when charcoal is burned, charcoal grills should not be used inside homes, vehicles, tents, or campers, even if ventilation is provided. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, you will not be alerted to the danger until it is too late.
  • Keep damp or wet coals in a well ventilated area. During the drying process, spontaneous combustion can occur in confined areas.
  • Never add fire starter after you have started your barbecue to speed a slow fire or rekindle a dying fire. The flame can easily flashback along the fluid's path to the container in your hands.
  • Never use any flammable liquid other than barbecue starter fluid to start a charcoal barbecue.
  • Remove the ashes only after they are completely cooled and no warm embers remain.
  • Remove the charcoal ashes from the grill and place them into a metal container with a tight-fitting metal lid. Add and mix in water with the ashes, and set aside for several days. 
  • Use the starter fluid sparingly and never put it on an open flame.