Grilling Safety

Grilling Safety

Millions of Americans enjoy safe outdoor barbecues every year; however, accidents occasionally happen. The United States Fire Administration says roughly 5,700 grill fires happen on residential properties each year. Annually, grill fires cause an estimated 10 deaths, 100 injuries, and $37 million in property damage. Most grill fires happen when gas grills malfunction. Thousands of people end up in emergency rooms each year with burns from barbecue grills.

Grill fires are rare; however, one could spread across your property. Check with your independent insurance agent to confirm that your homeowners insurance policy provides financial compensation for grill fires.

Typical homeowners policies cover:
  • Grill fire damage to houses
  • Grill fire damage to your belongings (like lawn furniture)
  • Grill fire damage to non-house structures on your property like sheds and gazebos.
  • Grill fire injuries to your guests (in the liability section of your policy)

Remember – you’ll need to cover your deductible payment before your homeowners insurance compensates you. If you suffer minimal damage, and carry a high deductible, you may choose not to make a claim. Ask your agent if it’s in your best interest to file.

The best plan for enjoying a summer full of outdoor barbecue fun is to prevent accidents before they occur by employing safe grilling techniques and properly maintaining your equipment.

Grill Storage and Maintenance

Your gas grills should be safe if you conduct the right maintenance and check it for leaks. However, some grills can be unsafe because of poor designs and manufacturing flaws. Search the Consumer Product Safety Commission website and check for a possible recall of your grill.

When you set up your grill at the beginning of the season, follow these tips to ensure the safety of your loved ones and your property:

  • Examine your grill hoses for and cracks, holes, and possible brittleness. Carefully check for any blockages, particularly in your grills Venturi tubes (that run to the burners). Clear and blockages from food drippings, spiders, or other insects by using a pipe cleaner or a piece of wire.

  • Run a solution of half liquid soap and half water through your hoses and into your connections. Open the gas valve on your tank and look for any bubbles (which indicate gas leaks).

  • If you need to adjust your hoses, keep them away from hot surfaces and grease drippings.

  • Store your propane tanks outdoors, away from all structures. Always make certain to firmly close your gas valves after each use.

Safe Grilling Practices

  • Operate your grill on a flat and level surface. Keep it a safe distance from your home, garage, sheds, bushes, and trees. Don’t move your grill once you light it.

  • Keep your children and your pets far away from your grill.

  • “Grillmasters” should wear heavy aprons and extended oven mitts that cover their forearms.

  • If you use a charcoal grill, only use grilling-style lighter fluid. Never use gas or any other flammable liquid to light your grill. Be sure not to add extra lighter fluid once you’ve lit your grill.

  • Don’t grill indoors; avoid enclosed areas. Charcoal grills give off carbon monoxide (CO) gas, which can injure or kill people if your grilling space lacks proper ventilation.

  • Always have a fire extinguisher near your grilling station.

  • When you finish cooking, be careful – your grill will stay hot for quite a while. Don’t store or cover your grill until you’ve let it cool off completely. Soak any hot coals in water before you dispose of them.

If an Accident Occurs

If you have a grilling accident—or any kind of fire—use proper first aid on any injuries. Running cool water over lightly-burned areas can help; however, don’t cover up burns with butter, salve, or bandages. If someone has a serious burn, take them to an urgent care facility or an emergency room. In the case of a life-threatening burn (or if you have any doubts), please call 911 immediately.

After dealing with any injuries, take a look and assess any property damage.  If you experience substantial property damage, talk with your independent insurance agent and decide whether or not to file a claim.

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