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BBQ Safety Tips

By Bethany Harris on July 30th, 2010

June marks the beginning of fun, sun, and barbecues. Unfortunately, this period is also a high time for grill fires. Before lighting up the grill, put in place basic safeguards to avoid a dangerous situation at your next outdoor cookout.

U.S. fire departments answer nearly 8,000 calls annually because of home grill-related fires from 2003-2006, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). This includes 5000 outdoor fires and 2,900 structure fires resulting in $80 million of direct property damage. Maintaining your homeowners insurance policy is critical to help offset the costs of loss in the event of a fire.

The following tips can help you avoid a BBQ disaster:

  • Be sure to keep your grill at least 10 feet away from wood, vinyl siding, trees or bushes to prevent melting or burning. Keep candles, torches, matches and lighters out of the main grill area. Only use charcoal lighter fluid for grill fires.
  • Check gas grill tubes for obstructions such as grease, insects, cracking and holes. A pipe cleaner can be used to clear any tube obstructions. Replace any old connectors to avoid gas leaks. Refer to the operator's manual for regular maintenance and repair.
  • Make sure the grill surface is a level away from the house, garage, kids and pets. Never grill inside or on a balcony. Burning coal produces carbon monoxide (CO). Colorless and odorless, CO can become toxic in closed areas causing serious injury, including death. Keep grilling activities in an open lawn area to ensure safety.
  • After lighting the barbecue grill, never leave it unattended. Keep a fire extinguisher, bucket of sand, or garden hose handy. If flames get out of hand call 911 immediately.
  • Wear close fitting clothes. Loose or flowing clothes can easily catch fire. Use long handled cooking utensils to handle food on the grill, and oven mitts to handle hot food pans or adjust hot vents.

Remember these safeguards for a successful barbecue season.

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