Make Your Memorial Day a Safe One

The Propane Education & Research Council Offers Important Grilling Safety Tips

May 25, 2000

For many Americans, Memorial Day weekend means sun, relaxation, and a chance to dust off the gas grill for the first barbecue of the year. More and more Americans are enjoying the benefits of propane gas grills. In response, the Propane Education & Research Council (Council) is providing some helpful tips to make the summer grilling season a safe one.

Gas grill sales have skyrocketed over the last few years, as barbecuing increases in popularity. The Barbecue Institute of America (BIA) reports that last year there were 3.1 billion cookouts. The industry sold approximately 8.6 million gas grills compared to 3.8 million in 1994. Nearly 93 percent of gas grill owners chose propane as their gas grill fuel according to the BIA.

'Consumers trust using propane to fuel their gas grill because they know it will heat quickly, cook evenly and compared to charcoal, propane burns more cleanly and efficiently, which helps preserve the environment by reducing harmful emissions,' said Roy Willis, president of the Propane Education & Research Council.

The Council and the National Propane Gas Association have compiled a list of propane gas grill and cylinder safety tips for consumers to prepare for a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend:

Propane Gas Grill Do's:

  • Always use the grill outdoors in a well-ventilated area. Do not bring cylinders indoors or into an enclosed space such as a garage.
  • Always follow all of the manufacturer's instructions and keep written materials and manuals in a safe, accessible place.
  • Before lighting your propane gas grill burner, use a leak-detection solution to check all connections for tightness. Contact your local propane gas supplier to obtain the leak-detection solution and instructions on how to use it. Never use matches or lighters to check for leaks.
  • Always use or store cylinders in an upright, vertical position. Store them outdoors away from sources of ignition.
  • When you have your cylinder refilled, have your supplier check for dents, damage, rust or leaks.
  • After filling, take your cylinder home immediately. Keep your vehicle ventilated with the cylinder valve closed and plugged or capped (unless your cylinder type does not require plugs or caps). Do not leave the cylinder in your car.
  • Make sure the grill burner controls are turned off and keep the cylinder valve closed when not in use.
  • Make sure the grill is shut off and cooled before covering.
  • When your grill is not in use, cover disconnected hose-end fittings and burner air intakes with small plastic bags, or obtain protective fitting caps from your propane supplier to keep out dirt, insects and moisture.
  • If there is a significant and uncontrollable release of gas or a fire, call the fire department immediately and move all people and pets away from the unit.

Propane Gas Grill Don'ts:

  • Don't smoke while handling the propane cylinder.
  • Don't leave the cylinder in your vehicle.
  • Don't use matches or lighters to check for leaks.
  • Don't allow children to tamper or play with the cylinder or grill.
  • Don't use, store or transport your cylinder where it would be exposed to high temperatures. (This includes storing spare cylinders under or near the grill.)
  • Before you grill your favorite food, you need to know how to use your gas grill safely - and this includes handling and storing your propane cylinder," said Willis. "By understanding how to properly handle propane, we can all enjoy a better, safer holiday."

The Propane Education & Research Council was authorized by the U.S. Congress with the passage of Public Law 104-284, the Propane Education and Research Act (PERA), signed into law on October 11, 1996. The mission of the Propane Education & Research Council is to promote the safe, efficient use of odorized propane gas as a preferred energy source. For more information about the Propane Education & Research Council, please call (202) 452-8975 or visit the Web site at

NPGA is the national trade association for the U.S. propane gas industry. With a membership of more than 3,800 companies in all 50 states, 38 affiliated state or regional associations, and members in 28 foreign countries, NPGA represents every segment of the propane industry. Over 90 percent of the United States' propane supply is produced domestically, and 60 million Americans choose propane as their energy source. For additional information, please contact NPGA at (630) 515-0600 or via the Internet at