Grill Safety Tips for the Summer

from the Hartford Insurance Company


grillGrilling has become as much a part of American life as baseball and Mom’s apple pie. It brings people together to enjoy the outdoors, gives food unique flavors, and keeps our kitchens cooler (and cleaner) in hot weather.

Still, it’s important to remember that an estimated 5,700 grill fires occur on residential properties each year in the U.S. And, more than half occur in the months of May, June, July and August. Remembering a few simple tips can help keep your grilling safe and enjoyable this summer, and anytime you grill.

  1. For Outdoor Use Only. While it may seem that everyone knows this common sense tip, the fact is that many people still don’t realize gas and charcoal grills can produce carbon monoxide in amounts that can result in illness or death if there is not enough ventilation. For both health and safety reasons, never use your grill indoors, or in a garage, breezeway or porch. If you’re grilling while traveling on vacation, don’t use a grill or hibachi in a tent, camper or vehicle.
  2. Grill Placement is Key. To help avoid the possibility of a structure fire, be sure to give your grill plenty of space, away from your home, condo or apartment. Move it out from under eaves, awnings, overhangs, or carports. Also move it away from brush, dead leaves and overhanging branches. Make sure the grill is on a level surface and stable.
  3. Have the Right Tools and Wear Appropriate Clothes. Use long handled utensils. Wear flame retardant mitts if you need to get close to burners or flames. Tuck in or avoid shirts with long-hanging tails. If your chef’s apron has strings, keep them tied in back of you.
  4. Clean Up the Buildups. To reduce the possibility of flare-ups, remove grease or fat accumulations on a regular basis from the bottom of the grill and the drip pans.
  5. Keep an Eye On It. Once lit, never leave a grill unattended and don’t attempt to move it. A grill can remain hot for up to an hour after use, so keep children, pets and any activities or foot traffic at a safe distance, even after the grill has been turned off.

Propane Grill Safety

  • Just Bought a New Grill? It’s worth a few minutes to read through the manual. Learn about how to properly use any features that are new to you, as well as any special instructions the manufacturer provides for cleaning, safety and maintenance.
  • Firing Up an Older Grill for the Season? Check the condition of your propane tank and look closely at gas tank hoses for cracks or other signs of wear and tear. Make sure burners and venturi tubes are clear of dirt and debris that may have accumulated while the grill was in off-season storage.
  • Light Cautiously. Keep the lid open to avoid build-up of gas. If the grill doesn’t ignite immediately, turn off gas and let ventilate thoroughly before trying again.

Charcoal Grill Safety

  • Getting Started. Use only starter fluid made specifically for charcoal, never gasoline or kerosene. Once lit, don’t add starter fluid to coals. Keep your charcoal fluid stored away from the grill and out of the reach of children.
  • Keep Your Distance. Use long-handled utensils to move coals around and for cooking to help keep a safe distance from heat.
  • Cool Down. Be sure to let coals cool completely before disposing and make sure you have a designated area for disposal.
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