Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Enjoy the Grilling Season with These Safety Tips

By: Edward L. Blais, JD, CIC

During these warm summer months, the family grill is used on a regular basis. While backyard barbeques are fun, they can also pose safety hazards. The U.S. Fire Administration estimates that 5,700 grill fires occur on residential properties each year and 32% of those grill fires start on patios, terraces, screened-in porches or courtyards.

These unfortunate statistics should motivate all grillers to pay close attention to the safety tips we have outlined below.

Always use your grill outdoors. If you use your grill indoors or in an enclosed space, like a tent, it can pose a significant fire hazard. It can also expose occupants to toxic gases or potential asphyxiation. Additionally, remember to keep your grill away from siding, deck rails and eaves.

Keep the grill in a designated safe area. Make sure your grill is placed at a safe distance from lawn games and foot traffic and make sure children know not to come near the grill. It’s also important to remember not to position your grill under low-hanging branches.

Examine your grill before initial use. Prior to lighting up your gas grill for the first time, be sure to check the hose of your propane cylinder for leaks. If you own a charcoal grill, remember to purchase proper starter fluid, rather than charcoal that is self-lighting. This type of charcoal uses additives that can cause bad tasting food.

Maintain your grill to avoid fire hazards. If you detect a leak in your gas grill, turn the propane tank off immediately and call a professional to service the tank. Should you detect a leak while cooking, get away from the grill quickly and call the fire department. While using your gas or charcoal grill, remove grease or fat buildup below the grill to keep it from igniting.

Store your grill correctly. Never store propane cylinders in buildings or garages. If you need to store your gas grill inside during the winter, disconnect the cylinder and leave it outside. Store charcoal grill lighter fluid in a safe place away from children, pets and heat sources.

Blais Insurance hopes that with these tips, you and your family can have an enjoyable, safe grilling season. For any additional insurance questions, please contact Blais Insurance at 401-725-0070.