Outdoor Grilling Safety Tips

Grilling: It’s a summertime staple that many people wish they could do all year. Being outside and soaking up some sun while basking in the beauty of those “perfect grill lines” certainly sounds like a summer day done right. But even seasoned grill masters can have accidents. High heat and propane tanks, if handled improperly, could be recipes for disaster.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, some 5,700 grill fires take place on residential properties every year. Most are caused by malfunctioning gas grills. These fires cause an average of $37 million in damage annually, and send thousands to the emergency room for burns.

Safety Tips for Grilling at Home

When grilling at home, remember:

  • Never grill indoors.
  • Place your grill at least 10 feet away from walls on a stable, flat surface so the grill won’t tip.
  • Clear any food dropping or blockages before lighting up – use a wipe or pipe cleaner to get rid of flammable debris.
  • Do not start a gas grill with the lid closed. This can cause gas to build up inside of the grill, resulting in an explosion of flame when the burners light.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Never use water to put out a grease fire. Small grease fires may be contained with baking soda.
  • Make sure your shirt sleeves, apron strings or any other articles of clothing don’t dangle over the grill.
  • Cook food thoroughly and use a meat thermometer to check temperatures.
  • Never leave a grill burning unattended.
  • Don’t let pets or children play around a grill.
  • Properly shut down your grill. Turn off burners and the gas supply for gas grills. Let coals for charcoal grills cool completely before disposing into metal containers.
  • Clean grease from the grill and grill trays.
  • Make sure the grill is cool before moving, cleaning or covering it.

Does Your Insurance Policy Cover Grill Fires?

If a grill fire occurs, a standard homeowner’s insurance policy will typically cover damage to your house or personal possessions. If you have insured structures on your property, like a shed, that will be covered too.

The liability portion of your policy will also cover any burns or food-borne illnesses suffered by your guests.

Contact your AAA Insurance agent to be sure your insurance policy provides you the coverage you need.

A little bit of caution goes a long way. Keep these safety tips in mind this barbecue season to ensure your cook-outs stay safe!