Fire marshal gives safe grilling tips


COLUMBUS — As Ohioans prepare to kick off the unofficial start to the summer grilling season, the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of State Fire Marshal (SFM) reminds grill masters of all skill levels to practice caution during upcoming outdoor cookouts.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), each year, approximately 9,500 people are burned from grill fires or hot grills. In addition, an average of 10,600 home fires are caused by grills annually.

“Grilling safely is not just about preventing fires; it’s about protecting our families, friends, and neighbors from avoidable accidents,” said Anita Metheny, SFM Fire Prevention Bureau Chief. “By following a few safety tips, we’re not only focused on having great summer, but also protecting what matters.”

To ensure a safe grilling season and prevent potential fire hazards, the State Fire Marshal emphasizes the importance of following specific grill safety tips.

Grill Exclusively Outdoors: Always use propane, gas, and charcoal grills outdoors to avoid fire hazards. Ensure the area above and around your grill is clear from any combustible materials.

Distance Your Grill from Structures: Keep grills at least 10 feet away from your home or any wooden structures to prevent fire risks.

Stable Surfaces are Key: Place your grill on a flat, level surface like a concrete pad to avoid tipping and potential fires.

Inspect for Leaks: Before the grilling season kicks off, check your grill for any gas leaks that could lead to dangerous buildup when the lid is closed.

Regular Cleaning: Clean your grill after each use. Grease buildup can act as fuel and catch fire the next time you use your grill.

Never Leave Your Grill Unattended: Always monitor your grill when in use. Unattended grills pose a significant fire hazard.

Dress Appropriately: Avoid wearing loose clothing that can easily catch fire.

Keep a Spray Bottle Handy: A spray bottle filled with water can be used to manage flare-ups safely without spreading the fire.

Have a Fire Extinguisher Nearby: For unforeseen emergencies, always have a fire extinguisher within reach when grilling.

If refilling a propane tank, please do so with caution. Filling propane tanks involves precise measurements and strict adherence to safety codes to avoid injury. Filling a tank more than 80% can result in dangerous situations such as ruptures or leaks that can cause accidents, environmental hazards, and damage to property. The following are signs of a propane tank that has been overfilled.

Overwhelming smell of propane gas, or mercaptan, which is added to the odorless propane.

Vapor stream of liquid propane coming out of the tank.

The overfill prevention device is released.

The sound of propane escaping the tank.

The gauge on the tank is high after being filled.

The State Fire Marshal created guidance for consumers on how to handle an overfilled tank, what steps should be taken to safely address it, and how to handle expired tanks. To read the full consumer alert, visit

For additional information on grilling safety and other resources for the upcoming summer season, visit the State Fire Marshal’s website at

No posts to display