The warm weather is here, and it’s time to dust off the grill and enjoy the taste of flame-grilled foods and all the barbecue you can eat. Before you light up the propane or the charcoal, it’s important to stay safe. Your family and home depend on it.
Here’s what you need to know.
Don’t Get Too Close
More than half of all home fires started by outdoor grills occur when the grill is too close to the structure of your home. Many people use their courtyard, patio, terrace, balcony, or open porch. Others don’t think to check the clearance of tree limbs over their grill area. Keep your grill at least 10 feet away from your home and clear debris, limbs, and leaves that could catch on fire in an accident.
Keep It Steady
Wherever you place your grill, make sure it sits on a flat surface. You don’t want it to tip over. When it’s not lit, it may damage the patio or deck in a fall. When it’s in use, fire, injury, and more can easily occur if it falls over. Consider using a grill mat to protect the surface and stabilize the area where your grill sits.
Check for Leaks
For anyone with a gas grill, a gas leak is a very real safety hazard. Before you grill, especially after it’s been sitting for a while, check for leaks. Two obvious signs are the smell of gas near the grill and not being able to light it. An easy way to check is to use a soap and water solution on the gas tank hose. Turn on the gas, and if the solution bubbles, you’ve got a leak. Don’t use your grill until the leak has been fixed.
Don’t Let Anyone or Anything Too Close
You know how hot the grill is when you stand over it, and you know how easily you could get burned. Remember that for everyone else, too. Create a perimeter around the grill that’s off limits to kids and pets. And don’t leave your grill unattended while in use. At the same time, watch what you wear while you’re grilling. Loose clothing and apron strings can get singed or catch fire and cause serious injury.
Clean Up After Yourself
Between uses of your grill, make sure to clean it well. Remove grease or fat build-up to reduce the chance of starting a grease fire. Remember, though, that your grill will be hot for at least an hour after you’ve turned it off so give it at least that long before cleaning or moving it. If you use a charcoal grill, wait at least that long before disposing of any old coals.
Plan for Emergencies
No one ever wants anything bad to happen, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan for the possibility. Keep baking soda by your grill in case of a grease fire. For all other fires, make sure you have either a fire extinguisher or a bucket of sand. A little preparation and a bit of quick thinking can save your home and family from a fire.
Cooking food over a fire is something we’ve done since the dawn of time. For many, it signals the start of summer. For others, it’s how you celebrate family gatherings and entertain. Make sure it continues to be something everyone looks forward to by staying safe.
And to make sure your home is well-protected from fire and other hazards, make sure you have a solid home insurance policy. Contact Charlotte Insurance today for a free quote or to ask questions about your current policy.