Outdoor Grill and Heating Safety for your Condominium Association or Apartment
Cooking with grills on decks and balconies of residential buildings can result in fires that put the building and its occupants at risk. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) indicates an average of 8,900 grill fires occur per year in the United States.
Most fires are preventable and originate from tall flames after failing to clean the grill, placing equipment too close to combustibles, or leaving grills unattended. Gas grills have risk of leaking gas lines, and charcoal grill use can lead to careless dumping ofhot charcoal. If you allow improper grill use, your organization could be liable if a fire causes injury or death.
Consistent with most codes, you should also prohibit grill use within 10 feet of any structure. Outdoor heating units and fire pits should fall under the same restrictions.
Best practices for building owners and management:
- Include rules and safe practices in writing with each unit-owner/tenant lease and/or by-laws.
- Prohibiti use and storage on decks/balconies, allowing use on ground level only and at least 10 feet from buildings.
- Post all rules and safe practices in each building and in areas where open-flame heating and cooking equipment may be used. Circulate periodic reminders.
- Conduct regular site visits to enforce the policies and to inspect areas where open-flame heating and cooking equipment are used.
- Consider providing a metal bin for used charcoal and a masonry slab or designated location for grill use at least 10 feetfrom structures.
- As a safer alternative to open flames, encourage the use of electric griddle style grills (not open coil style)
For additional grilling safety tips, go to www.nfpa.org.
Enforcing guidelines for grill usage in habitational communities is vital to maintaining insurance coverage. Insurance companies can cancel policies if grills are used in a manner which are against fire code and/or their underwriting guidelines. Please contact McDaniel Insurance for assistance in further information regarding grill usage and heating safety. Please reach out to any member of their team at 502.909.0920.