Campus Barbecue Grill Safety Requirements

UCSC staff members at a campus staff appreciation barbecue

General Information

The following information is provided for the use of barbecue grills on the UCSC campus.

Please Note: Students may not bring or utilize any type of grill on campus for individual use.

Registered student organizations or other campus units wishing to use a barbecue grill for any event must complete and submit the BBQ Grill Approval Form at least one week prior to the event for approval by the Campus Fire Marshal. This form MUST be completed and submitted by a campus faculty or staff member - student organizations should have the form completed by the faculty/staff sponsor who has approved the event. Forms submitted by students (including RAs) will be rejected. 

An approval email will be sent by the Campus Fire Marshal if the event is approved. This approval must be kept on-site throughout the event.

The Campus Fire Marshal reserves the right to make site visits, obtain more specific information and provide further recommendations based on the circumstances of each individual event.

For further questions or concerns relating to grill safety, please contact:

Nick Otis
Interim Campus Fire Marshal
UCSC Office of Emergency Services
(831) 459-3473

Campus Grill Safety Requirements

The following safety requirements must be met for any grill usage on campus. 

General Grilling Safety 

  • Barbecue grills should be used on a firm, flat, stable surface. 
  • Grills should not be used indoors which includes: garages, carports, balconies or beneath any structure equipped with an overhang. 
  • Grills should not be used within 50ft. of any structure. 
  • Place the grill a safe distance from event attendees and out of paths of travel. 
  • Fire extinguishers should be readily available when using any barbecue grill. 
  • Loose clothing should not be worn when grilling. 
  • Never leave the barbecue grill unattended. 
  • Long utensils should always be used to avoid burning. 
  • Never attempt to relocate a grill once the fire has been lit or a grill that is hot.

Electric Grill Safety 

  • Never immerse or expose cords, plug or heating element in water or other liquid. 
  • Electric grill should not be used in the rain. 
  • Do not use electric grill near combustible or flammable materials. 
  • Visually inspect cord, plug and all connections for damage and wear prior to grilling. 
  • All knobs should be in the OFF position when unplugging or plugging the grill into electrical outlet. 
  • Unplug the grill from electrical outlet prior to cleaning or when not in use. 
  • To ensure protection against risk from shock, electric grill should be connected to a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). 

Charcoal Grilling Safety 

  • Never use gasoline or kerosene to light a charcoal fire. Additional lighting fluid should not be added to an already lit charcoal grill. 
  • Because charcoal produces carbon monoxide fumes, do not store charcoal grills indoors until charcoal is completely extinguished and disposed of. 
  • Charcoals should be given plenty of time to extinguish (minimum of 48 hours). After permitting the coals sufficient time to cool, it is recommended using water on the charcoals to ensure full extinguishment. The charcoals should be placed in a plastic bag, tied up and then placed in the garbage. 
  • Hot coals can exceed temperatures of 1000 degrees. Use insulated flame-retardant mitts when cooking or handling any part of the grill. 
  • Keep water nearby for flare-ups. 

Gas Grilling Safety 

  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when connecting or disconnecting a gas grill. 
  • By cleaning and performing general maintenance on a gas grill, it can assist in keeping them safer to use. 
  • Check tubes leading to burners for any form of blockage. Check hoses for cracks, leaks or brittleness. Ensure that there are no sharp bends in hoses. If cracks or leaks appear in hoses, follow manufacturer’s suggestions to check for leaks and replacement of damaged hoses. 
  • Make certain that propane cylinder does not have any dents, gouges, bulges, and leaks, fire damage or rust. Cylinders should be replaced if any of these signs are evident. 
  • Use gas grill in a well ventilated area. 
  • Keep lit cigarettes and open flame away from gas grill. 
  • Always store propane cylinder in a secured upright position. 
  • Make certain that the propane cylinder has an over-fill prevention device. 
  • Do not store propane cylinder in a hot car or area that can be exposed to high heat. High temperatures will force the gas pressure to increase and possibly open the relief valve – filling the area with gas. 
  • Always make certain that the control knobs for the gas grills are in the OFF position prior to igniting and when storing grill. When grill is not in use, knob on propane cylinder should be in the OFF position as well. 
  • If gas grill fails to light on first attempt, turn the burner control off and allow the gas to dissipate prior to trying again. 
  • If the fire on the burners of a gas grill goes out during cooking, turn all of the knobs to the OFF position. Open lid and wait five minutes before attempting to relight. 
  • Always start gas grills with the lid in the open position. Gas can collect if the lid is down which can create an explosion when grill is lit. 

What to do if a Gas Grill is Leaking 

  • Liquid Propane (LP) is an odorless gas. Ethyl Mercaptan is an ingredient added to propane, which permits it to have an odor. The added ingredient allows the user to recognize that the propane cylinder is leaking. A “rotten egg” smell indicates a gas leak. 
  • Do not turn electric switches off or on, light matches or do anything that could ignite gas. 
  • Immediately get all people out of the area. 
  • Close valve on propane tank. Turn knobs on grill to the OFF position. Do not turn valves on or re-enter the area until the leak has been corrected. 
  • If need be, call the Fire Department by calling 9-1-1. 

Standard Operating Procedure for Ensuring the Safe Use of Barbecue Grills on the UCSC Campus Applicable Standards 

  1. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 101, Life Safety Code 
  2. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 1, Uniform Fire Code 
  3. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 76, Recommended Practice for the Fire Protection of Telecommunication Sites 
  4. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 921, Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations 
  5. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 1192, Standard on Recreational Vehicles 
  6. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 1452, Guide for Training Fire Personnel to Conduct Dwelling Fire Safety Surveys