Outdoor Grills

Fire in the grill, under hot dogs, and burgers, is a welcome sight at the family cookout. But fire anywhere else can make your barbecue memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Charcoal grills

  • Purchase the proper starter fluid, and store the can out of reach of children, and away from heat sources.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited, and never use any flammable or combustible liquid other than charcoal starter fluid to get the fire going.

Propane Grills

  • Check the gas cylinder hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. A light soap and water solution applied to the hose will quickly reveal escaping propane by releasing bubbles. If you determine your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame:

    • Turn off the gas tank and grill.
    • If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
    • If the leak does not stop, call the Fire Department.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the Fire Department. Do not attempt to move the grill.
  • Use only equipment bearing the mark of an independent testing laboratory. Follow the manufacturers' instructions on how to set up the grill, and maintain it.
  • Never store propane gas cylinders in buildings or garages. If you store a gas grill inside during the winter, disconnect the cylinder, and leave it outside.
  • Propane is a very flammable and potentially explosive fuel. The Fire Department urges everyone to use caution, understand and follow all manufacturers directions when using propane grills.

Safety Tips

  • Gas and charcoal BBQ grills must only be used outdoors. If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces, such as tents, they pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to toxic gases, and potential asphyxiation.
  • Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings, and out from under eaves, and overhead branches.
  • Apartment dwellers may not be able to use barbecues of certain types. If you live in an apartment and wish to use a barbecue grill, please call the Fire Department at 630-833-5350 for more information.
  • Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play areas, and foot traffic.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area- declare a 3 foot "safe zone" around the grill.
  • Put out several long-handled grilling tools, to give the chef plenty of clearance from heat and flames when flipping burgers.
  • Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below grill, so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.