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Consumer Alert: Summer Grilling Safety

With 57 percent of annual grill related fires occurring May through August, July being the peak month, it’s important to learn and practice grill safety. 

Outdoor grilling is one of the most popular ways to cook food in the summer, but it can also be a dangerous fire hazard. According to the National Fire Protection Association and Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 8,900 home fires involving grills, hibachis, or barbeques occur each year in the United States causing about $118 million in property damage.

Both propane and charcoal grills should only be used outdoors and placed well away from the home, deck railings, and out from under leaves and overhanging branches. Children and pets should also stay at least three feet away from the grill area. 

Before using a charcoal grill, keep in mind the type of starter fluid you are using. Only use charcoal starter fluid, or electric charcoal starters that do not use fire. When you are finished grilling, let the coals cool completely before disposing in a metal container. 

Precautions also need to be taken for propane grills. Before using it for the first time each year, check the gas tank hose for possible leaks. To do this, apply a light soap and water solution and check for bubbles. 

If you smell gas while cooking, step away from the grill and immediately call the fire department. If the flame goes out, turn off the gas and wait at least five minutes before re-lighting. 

While these may seem like common sense tips, it can be easy to overlook these safety precautions. This could result in an injury or fire that damages or destroys your home, valuable possessions or irreplaceable family mementos. Filing a homeowners’ insurance claim resulting in a payout by your insurer could also increase your premiums. 

For more information on grilling safety and to learn how to stay safe this summer, click here.