Can you smell it? It is the tastiest time of the year: grilling season. Families and friends all over the country will gather this summer to enjoy meals and outdoor activities together, so it is always a smart idea to review safety measures before that first barbecue kicks off.

Grilling, smoking and fire pits are all the hallmarks of open-air fun, but you are literally playing with fire when you use them. Even the most seasoned grill master has likely run into one of the scenarios below. You can never be too careful.

Bookmark this page for a helpful annual checklist to make sure your outdoor cooking appliances and property are fully prepared for safe usage all summer long.  

Grilling and Smoking

Nothing beats a summer cookout. Grilled hotdogs, burgers, veggies – you name it. There is something special about creating a delicious meal and enjoying it al fresco. But do your family a favor and be sure to practice proper grill care before throwing the food on. 

How to Clean a Grill

After a period of inactivity, all grills, regardless if they are gas powered or charcoal, should be thoroughly cleaned before use. Old food particles and grease can easily catch a spark and result in a dangerous open flame if not cleared away before cooking. Most of the time, this is an easy process.

After turning on the grill or lighting fresh charcoal, let it heat for 10-15 minutes, softening the residue for easier removal. Turn the grill off or extinguish the coals and begin scraping the grates with a wire grill brush. For especially caked-on messes, it may help to use a grill cleaning solution or dish soap to break down the grease. It should be noted that charcoal grills are much messier to clean and should be cleaned after each use to ensure safety and performance.

Grilling Safety Tips

In fact, if you are the proud owner of a charcoal grill, you need to know how to properly dispose of the coals after use. It is important to make sure the coals have either been doused with water or have completely cooled before attempting to handle them. Once they are safe to move, insert them into a metal can or wrap in foil before placing the charcoals in an outdoor trash receptacle.

Next, make sure your grill or smoker is always at least 10 feet away from your home or any other structure. Never use a grill in an enclosed area. Be mindful of the clothes you are wearing, as loose fitted clothing is more likely to catch fire. Smoke can cause damage to your home quickly by melting or singeing nearby vinyl siding. Basically, the farther away you can position your appliance from any structure, the better.

Is your grill or smoker on level ground? If it isn’t, you are at risk for the grill and all of its contents tipping which is much more dangerous than a ruined meal. It could mean serious burns for anyone who is standing nearby. Keep children and pets away from your station and do not leave your grill or smoker unattended.

Ventilation is extremely important when grilling. Under no circumstances should grilling or smoking occur in an enclosed or covered area. Smoke can disable a person quickly, while the potential for deadly carbon monoxide poisoning increases in a poorly ventilated space.

Fire Damage from Grilling

Should you experience smoke or fire damage from an outdoor cooking device, you need to know what is and what is not covered by your homeowner’s insurance. Typically, a fire caused by your appliance that spreads to your property is protected by your policy, yet all policies are unique. Your best option is to consult with a licensed public adjuster to review your policy.

Fire Safety 

June and July are known to be the peak months for fires caused by grills and smokers. It is always recommended that you keep a fire extinguisher at the ready in an easily accessible location. It also may be helpful to keep a container of baking soda nearby in case of a grease fire. Water should never be used to extinguish a grease fire! If a grill fire spreads or becomes out of control, immediately get to safety and call 911.

After the flames have been put out, you will need to determine the severity of the damage to your property if the flames spread. Fire claims may be confusing if the source of the fire came from outside the structure itself. 

Fire Damage Claim? Contact AI/BLC Today!

Luckily, there are experts who are available to assist you in your time of need. Contact one of the certified public adjusters at Adjuster International/Basloe, Levin & Cuccaro and your situation will be handled by a trusted ally, on your behalf. Please do not hesitate to reach out, and have a safe, enjoyable summer!