Summer Grilling Safety

Some food just tastes better cooked on the grill. Each year, thousands of American families host their own backyard cookouts, yet on average there are 9,600 home fires caused by basic grilling mistakes, according to a yearly NFPA report. At Doherty Insurance, we care about our clients and want you to have the knowledge you need to avoid a grilling disaster. Here some important tips for both gas and charcoal grills that will have you prepped and ready for barbeque season.

 1. Place your grill in a safe spot.

A recent report from the National Fire Prevention Association states that more than a quarter of home fires are started by outdoor grills placed on a patio. This is why it’s important to consider the placement of your grill before you start cooking. Always grill outside and at least ten feet away from your home or any other structures, like a garage, deck, or patio. You should always make sure that your grill is positioned on a stable, flat surface as well. We urge you to never grill underneath any roofs, porches or overhanging branches or shrubbery, as grills can easily start a fire when placed near flammable items.

It’s also a good idea to establish a grilling area when cooking around children or pets. A curious child or dog can be severely burned by an active grill, so it’s best to keep them away from the grill when it’s in use or still hot.

 2. Grills should be cleaned after each use.

One of the most important things to remember about owning a grill is to properly clean and inspect it before and after each use. Keeping a clean grill is a simple way to prevent fires and extend its lifespan. If it’s been a while since you last grilled, we suggest that you inspect your gas grill for any leaks or damage before you start cooking. A great way to test for leaks is to mix a few drops of dish soap with water and apply it along the hose of your grill. If bubbles instantly form along the tubing when your grill is turned on, this means your grill has a leak and you should consult your grill manual for instructions on how to repair or replace the tubing before grilling again.

To thoroughly clean your grill, disconnect the hose from the propane tank and remove the grate, which can then be soaked in warm, soapy water and rinsed. Use a nylon or wooden grill brush or a sheet of tin foil to scrub under the hood as well as any other areas with noticeable build-up. Avoid using brushes with metal bristles, as loose bristles can end up in your food and if consumed, can cause serious health issues. Remember — heavy concentrations of grease can lead to fires and other dangers that can be avoided by simple, routine cleaning.

 3. Be prepared before you ignite.

Preparation is key when it comes to grilling. Remember to wear the proper clothing — loose garments are a fire hazard when grilling so we urge you to avoid wearing clothing with wide sleeves or long, dangling ties or strings. You should also make sure that you have all of the correct grilling tools present before you start cooking, like fuel, tongs, a spatula, brushes and most of all, a fire extinguisher.

One of the most important steps to grilling is making sure that you’re prepared to put out a potential fire. When grilling, you should be prepared to handle a grease fire. Never use water to put out this type of fire — this is the last thing that you should do and it could actually make the fire worse. Instead, use baking soda or sand to extinguish the blaze. It’s good practice to keep either of these nearby during a cookout. If you are using a charcoal grill, extinguish the coals by cutting off their oxygen supply. Close the lid of your charcoal grill as well as any vents and let it sit until it is completely cooled before disposing of the ashes.

Barbeques are meant for spending time with friends and family and eating good food. Don’t let improper grill care get in the way of that! For more information about how you can protect your home from summertime dangers — contact a Doherty Insurance agent today at 978-475-0260.


Doherty Insurance Agency
21 Elm Street
Andover, MA. 01810
Telephone: 978-475-0260
Fax: 978-475-0303