Serving up Grill Safety: Experts Share Tips to Keep Cook Outs Safe

Safety For You

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A visit to the emergency room is not how many people want to celebrate Labor Day. Fire safety experts said that small things like grill placement and lighting can prevent an accident.


“It’s a great time to be able to get together with friends and families but we also have to make sure that we play it safe,” said Michael McLeieer with E.S.C.A.P.E Fire Safety.

He says the reality is that your grill can pose a huge danger if you’re not safe. A mistake that can be costly.

“$37 million in property loss each year occurs in the United States because of grills and barbecuing fires,” McLeieer said.

He said the best way to prevent accidents is by leaving space around grills and fire pits. Firefighter Brent Riley with Delta Township Fire Department explains some of that improper spacing.


“I’m under the overhang and I’m right next to some flammable stuff. I got this bush, I got this picnic table right here. Ideally, we want to be maintaining at least a three-foot clearance,” he said.

He said he knows too well what can happen if you set up your grill too close to your home.

“One of the big things we see is the vinyl siding. People really under estimate how much heat it takes to start that melting and start that on fire,” he said.

Knowing how to light up the right way is the first step in keeping the grilling safe, he said.

“One of the ways to keep safe and avoid a burn, avoid that flair up is still keeping that lid open when we light it. A lot of these grills, if you look under the side or in the owner’s manual, there’s going to be a hole. Under the side of the grill here, where they actually want you to put that light in. So you aren’t standing right over the grill when you light it,” he said.

He said most importantly, if there’s an emergency , call the fire department.

“We rather be rolling in the truck, get there and have it be nothing than have the side of your house be on fire by the time we get there,” He said.

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