Association & Apartments-Outdoor Grilling Safety

April 13, 2021

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 o8,900  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 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

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.