10 Grilling Tips to Keep Your Home and Family Safe

During the summer, the warm weather makes it easy for you to heat your grill and cook your favorite food outside. Not only is it tasty, but it can also save you the discomfort of heating your home (and paying a higher HVAC bill triggered by the extra cooling costs).

Ribs, chicken, burgers and vegetables all taste especially flavorful when grilled on a beautiful sunny day, and grilling is a great time to gather family and friends and spend some time together. This is a great way to socialize while still abiding by social distancing precautions that continue to affect multiple parts of the country.

Still, grilling is as risky as any other type of cooking. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments responded to nearly 9,000 residential fires caused by gas or charcoal barbecues between 2007 and 2011. But, if you are aware of the risks, you can go a long way towards keeping your family safe.

Always keep these safety tips in mind while grilling up your favorites.

  1. Only use the grill outdoors. Don't feel tempted to bring the grill indoors during bad weather.
  2. Keep the grill clean. The build-up of grease drippings or charred materials may cause fire flare-ups that can quickly get out of control.
  3. Keep a fire extinguisher handy. Make sure it is rated for grease fires. Sand or baking soda will also snuff out a fire.
  4. Keep the grill out of a high-traffic area. People and children may walk too close, not knowing that the grill is hot.
  5. Grills should also not be near any structures or deck railings. Look up and make sure there are no eaves or overhanging branches directly overhead.
  6. Do not operate the grill with loose clothing. Hanging sleeves and apron strings are especially dangerous.
  7. For a gas grill, check lines periodically with soapy water for any leaks.
  8. If the fire ever goes out while you are cooking, open the lid and let any leaked gas dissipate for five minutes before re-lighting.
  9. Use lighter fluid sparingly and cautiously. Charcoal chimney starters are a safer way to heat up charcoal.
  10. Remember grills hold heat for a long time. Gas grills can stay hot an hour after you turn them off, and charcoal for several hours. Dispose of charcoal in a metal container after it cools.

Grilling season is often accompanied by backyard fun and relaxation, but don't get distracted from your task while cooking outdoors. Keep these tips in mind to keep your home and family safe, and while you’re at it, review your homeowners insurance. Make certain that your policy will always have the appropriate benefits in place if a problem occurs.