Summer is here, and the grilling season has begun in 2021. Barbecue is a typical part of picnics and family gatherings. It brings everyone together. From children to grown-ups, who doesn’t love a slice of smoky charred meat? Most Americans enjoy backyard grilling. 64% of U.S. households own an outdoor BBQ or grill. Before you start firing up your grill, educate yourself about grilling dos and don’ts. Make sure that you fire up the grill, not your home!
As much as fun and appetizing a barbecue is, it poses several hazards. Did you know that grilling has caused various injuries and fire accidents? National Fire Protection Association recorded 10,600 home fires caused by grilling every year. Gas grills are the most frequent cause of grill fires. As BBQ season starts in summer, July is the peak month of grill fire incidents. Emergency rooms have recorded around 19,700 injuries related to BBQ grilling.
Grilling Safety Tips
Educate yourself with grill safety practices to guarantee you have a fun and satisfying grilling experience with your family. It is important to avoid risks that may cause a grill fire. It is also essential to maintain proper food preparation to prevent food-related illnesses. There are various types of grilling, and it is important to know the right grill suitable for your home.
Gas Grill Safety
Most Americans prefer using gas grills for their convenience. 61% of U.S. households use gas grills for BBQ grilling.
- Regularly check the gas tank for any leaks before you safely start lighting it up. 84% of the grill fires recorded used gas as a fuel source. There’s an average of 8,900 home fires caused by gas grills. Most gas grill fires are related to leakage and damages.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on properly assembling, using, cleaning, and maintaining your propane gas.
- Do not overfill propane tanks. Propane gas expands when the temperature rises. Fill tanks only up to 80% of their capacity to provide space for expansion.
- Never use a propane tank to grill indoors. Aside from leaks that may cause fire, propane can also cause the build-up of carbon monoxide. The build-up of carbon monoxide can result in carbon monoxide poisoning.
- To avoid gas leakage, always turn off the cylinder valve after every use.
- Ensure the propane tank and hose are in good condition. Check the tank for rust, dents, and damages that can cause leakage. Check the hose for wear and tear, abrasion, and leaks.
- Store cylinder tanks outside the house to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Store propane cylinder in a well-ventilated space with a temperature isn’t exceeding 120℉. Place it in an upright position.
- Always open the grill lid when you preheat the grill. Carbon can build up with close lids. Carbon and grease can induce flare-ups. Flare-ups are a sudden blow of high and excessive flame from the grill.
Charcoal Grill Safety
For people who prefer the authentic smoky charbroiled flavor, charcoal grills are the best. Though it may take some time to lighten up this type of grill, it is more affordable than the gas grills.
- Do not suddenly light up charcoal after putting in lighter fluid. Wait at least 10 minutes to give lighter fluid time to evaporate.
- When lighting charcoal grills, always stand back to avoid fire injury in case a sudden big fire ignites.
- Always close lighter fluid after use and store it away from the grill.
- Use a chimney starter to light up charcoal. A chimney starter is even better than lighter fluid as it doesn’t have a chemical smell that can affect your food.
- Do not use highly flammable liquids like gasoline or kerosene to ignite the charcoal. These liquids may cause an explosion.
- It is vital to properly throw away used charcoal after grilling. Ensure coals are completely cold before discarding them in a metal container.
- Never put lighter fluids on red-hot coals. Hot coals can vaporize lighter fluids which can cause flare-ups.
Electric Grill Safety
This is the safest and the easiest to use among the three types of grills.
- Do not let the plug, cord, or heating element get wet.
- Inspect all electric grill connections for any damage. Do not use electric grills with damaged plugs or cords.
- Make sure the electric grill is turned off before plugging it into an electrical outlet.
- Unplug the grill from the outlet before cleaning or after every use.
- Secure electrical cords properly during grilling. An unsecured electrical cord can be easily damaged or cause trip accidents.
- For protection against electrical shock, use a ground fault interrupter outlet when grilling.
- Do not use an electric grill when it is raining.
Food-handling Safety Tips
- Maintain food sanitation by frequent handwashing. Always wash your hands before handling meat to avoid food poisoning.
- Thaw meats properly. Cook unrefrigerated raw meat within an hour. Bacteria can grow rapidly in unrefrigerated raw meat. These bacteria can cause foodborne illnesses.
- Separate different kinds of meat to avoid cross-contamination.
- Use different chopping boards, utensils when preparing foods for grilling.
- Store food in the fridge or cooler until it’s ready to grill.
- Clean the grill with a moist cloth or paper towel before grilling.
- Use a food thermometer to check if food is properly cooked, especially for meats. Different types of meat need to reach a specific temperature to kill harmful bacteria when grilling.
- For whole cuts of pork, beef, lamb, or veal- 145 ℉
- Fish- 145 ℉
- Burgers and other ground meat- 160℉
- Poultry and ready-made foods like hotdogs- 165℉
Pet owners must review their policy as liability coverage doesn’t cover all types of dogs. If your dog is uncovered by your General Safety Grilling Tips
- Clean your grill before the summer season kicks off. Records from NFPA showed 29% of residential fires started from uncleaned grills.
- Place the grill on a flat surface to ensure it is safe and stable.
- Use grilling tools like gloves, tongs, and brushes to avoid burns when cooking.
- Keep flammable items like paper and candles away from the grill. These items are prone to catch fire.
- Never leave the grill unguarded. It is dangerous to leave the grill unattended as small children and animals may come in contact with it. Half of the grill fire injuries involve thermal burns.
- Do not allow children and pets to come near the grill. Maintain a 3-feet safe zone around the grill.
- Never wear loose-fitting clothes when roasting. Loose-fitting clothes might come into contact with the grill and cause a fire.
- Make sure there’s a fire extinguisher handy in the case of a grill fire. It is best to install it in a nearby area. In the absence of a fire extinguisher, a good alternative would be baking soda.
- Don’t forget to clean your grill grates after every use. It is important to maintain the cleanliness of your grill as grease accumulates if you don’t clean it. Too much build-up of grease can lead to grease fires.
- Drink responsibly. BBQ and beer are always a great combination. But be sure to control your alcohol intake to maintain alertness and focus.
- Keep a safe distance between the BBQ grill and your house. Experts suggest placing your grill at least 10 feet away from your house.
- It is also best to set your grill near a water source. In the event of a grill fire, you can easily grab a hose to take out the fire.
- Never grill on the roof, second-story deck, or garage. Always grill in open spaces. Avoid areas with flammable materials like deck railings, awnings, or tree branches.
- Do not place flammable liquids like gasoline and kerosene near any type of grill. These liquids can intensify simple flare-ups and spread fire quickly.
- Do not overload grill grates with meat. Meat, especially fatty ones, produces fatty drips when grilled. These fatty drips can induce large flare-ups and could ignite nearby things on fire.
- Ensure your homeowner’s insurance coverage is up-to-date and adequate. If worse comes to worst and a fire accident happens, your home insurance policy will protect you.
Is your Homeowner’s Insurance Coverage Enough?
As the grilling season has started, take time to review your current home insurance coverage. It isn’t enough to have a homeowner’s insurance coverage. You need to have an adequate amount of home coverage to protect your home from various risks and hazards.
An adequate homeowner’s insurance coverage must allow you to:
Repair your home
Dwelling coverage will pay for the cost of your house repair when it gets damaged by covered risks. It covers all the structures of the house such as flooring, bathrooms, and fireplace. Detached structures like the garage, porch, and deck are also included in the coverage. To ensure adequate protection, it is vital to secure dwelling amount coverage equal to the replacement value of your house. An independent insurance agent can assist you in calculating the replacement expenses of your home.
Replace your personal property
Your homeowner’s insurance plan should have coverage that protects your personal belongings. It should cover your stuff like appliances, clothes, furniture, and electronics in case it gets damaged or stolen. Make sure you have enough coverage to replace all your personal properties. Oftentimes, people are unaware their personal property coverage is underinsured. As personal property accumulates over time, we don’t realize the actual value of personal belongings we own. It is best to create a home inventory checklist of all your assets to determine the total value of your stuff.
Pay for bodily injuries and damages that occur on your property
Liability protection will shield you from medical and property damage expenses that occurred in your house. Home accidents like thermal burns, slipping, and falling happen more frequently than you can imagine. Pet owners should also be cautious about the risk of dog bite incidents. It is wiser to get more than the minimum liability coverage to be fully protected from lawsuits and expenses.
Compensate for additional living expenses (ALE) in the event of the loss of your home
Fire, tornadoes, and hurricanes can cause destruction which may render your house unlivable. ALE coverage will shoulder the costs of eating out and hotel bills in case your house gets damaged and becomes unlivable.
Every insurance policy has limits and exclusions. These limitations and exclusions can cause flaws in your homeowner’s insurance coverage. To fully protect your home from risks and hazards, it is best to secure these additional coverages that will make you sleep soundly at night.
Extended Dwelling Coverage
The estimation of replacement costs of homes is not precise. Some factors can affect it such as new building codes, additional home structures, and increasing construction costs. Extended dwelling coverage provides an additional amount of coverage in case replacement costs exceeds your dwelling coverage. Insurers typically provide extended dwelling coverage of up to 25% of your dwelling limit.
Jewelry Floater Policy
Most insurance providers offer personal property coverage up to $1,500. This coverage is not enough to cover expensive jewelry in the event of damage or theft. Homeowners who own expensive collections of jewelry should avail the jewelry floater rider. Combine this policy rider with personal property coverage to fully protect your valuable assets.
ability coverage, the best thing to do is get pet insurance. Pet insurance will cover any liability expenses caused by your dog. In addition, medical expenses are also included in the pet insurance coverage.
Dog breeds insurers do not usually cover:
- Pit bulls
- Great Danes
- Siberian Huskies
- Wolf-dog Hybrids
- Doberman Pinschers
- German Shepherds
- Alaskan Malamutes
- A mixture of these breeds
ALE is usually 20-30% of the amount of extended dwelling coverage. Big families often need higher ALE. You can discuss this with your insurance agent, so they can help you get the appropriate ALE for your family.
With the pandemic slowly being contained, people are more open to hosting parties at home. Staying at home with your family need not be boring. You can still have a fun summer with your family, despite the current situation. Backyard grill helps provide safe and enjoyable gatherings with your family. Just remember to always follow grill safety cautions to avoid fire accidents.
AIS aims to protect everyone’s home. We offer customized homeowner’s insurance coverage to protect every family. This summer, you can have an enjoyable BBQ gathering with your family, and we will take care of the rest. Contact us now, and let’s discuss how we can protect your home and your family today!