According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, 7 out of 10 adults in the Untied States own a grill or a smoker which leads the HPBA to identify barbecuing as no longer a pastime, rather a lifestyle for Americans. As Labor Day weekend approaches, many gatherings of family and friends will likely involve outdoor cooking and barbecue on the menu which leads to a lot of tasty meals and well-fed guests, but also the increased risk of injury or fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2013-2017, fire departments went to an annual average of 10,200 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues per year. These fires caused an annual average of 10 deaths, 160 injuries and $123 million in direct property damage. Here at WalkerHughes Insurance, we are sharing the following information to help you keep your friends and family safe and protect your property from damage and unwanted Homeowners Insurance claims this big barbecue weekend!
Calling All Grill-Masters
Whether it is a marinade, a dry rub, or a special grilling technique, our beloved family chefs all have intricacies that make their grilled goods unique! Pass along the following reminders to keep the focus on the food and your barbecues uneventful without emergency visits from the local fire department.
- Grills and smokers should only be used outdoors due to not only fire risk, but also the Carbon Monoxide hazard.
- Place your grill well away from your home, deck railings, outdoor seating, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. The grill can melt the siding on your home and quickly ignite if too close to surrounding items. The Fishers, IN Fire Department shared to their Facebook page the negatives of mulch next to a residence is how quickly it can burn – alternatives next to a structure should be considered, especially if it is near your grilling station.
- Children make great sous chefs and love to assist their parents, but don’t allow kids near the grill while cooking or until it is cool. Keep pets at a safe distance as well while the grill is hot.
- Be careful of your starting methods!! Follow the instructions with your gas grill and do not use starter fluid. Consider reviewing alternatives for charcoal grills or smokers.
- Check the gas tank hose for leaks and always check the connections to make sure they are not leaking and working properly before using a gas grill. Think of this as the seat belt of gas grills, “click it or ticket!” before you get started and if you suspect a leak, turn off the gas and get the unit serviced by a professional.
Dinner is Served
Not only can grills cause property damage by starting fires, they can also cause severe burns. Exercise caution when opening the grill lid and flipping foods on the grill to ensure that your hands, arms, and eyebrows do not get burned. And we leave you with this last tip for a successful cook-out, when designing your guest list, keep in mind that insurance agents love attending barbecues!