Independence Day is right around the corner and many people celebrate with cookouts. While some people enjoy outdoor barbecues year round, summertime is ultimately the most popular time for grilling out. The best way to enjoy a summer of outdoor barbecues is to take steps to prevent accidents, including maintaining your grill and using it safely.
The Insurance Information Institute provides an extensive list of grilling tips to help you avoid injury this summer:
- Operate your grill on a level surface, away from your house, garage and landscaping. Don’t move the grill once it is lit.
- Keep children and pets away from the grill.
- Protect yourself with a heavy apron and oven mitts that reach high on the forearm.
- For charcoal grills, use only lighter fluid designed for grilling. Never use gasoline or other flammable liquids, and never add more lighter fluid once the fire has started.
- Never grill indoors or in enclosed areas. Charcoal grills produce carbon monoxide (CO) fumes, which can be fatal in unventilated areas.
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
- When you’re done with your cooking, remember that the grill will remain hot for a while. Don’t cover or store your gill until it has cooled, and soak coals with water before throwing them away.
Of course, accidents can still happen and any injuries should be addressed immediately. Run cool water over minor burns, but do not cover injured areas with bandages, butter or salve. In the case of more serious burns, victims should visit the emergency room or an urgent care facility. If needed or when in doubt, call 911.
Once you have dealt with any injuries, assess your property damage and, if the situation calls for it, contact your insurance agent to discuss filing a claim. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, approximately 5,700 grill fires take place on residential property every year, resulting in an average of $37 million in damage and thousands of injuries, some fatal. Fire that is caused unintentionally is a covered peril under a homeowners policy, subject to your policy deductible. Typically, a homeowner policy covers the following after the policy deductible is applied:
- Damage to the house itself or other structures, such as a shed
- Damage to personal possessions such as patio furniture
- Injuries to a guest, under the liability portion of the policy (the deductible is not applicable for liability claims)
Be sure to enjoy your summer barbecues; don’t get burned this season by practicing safe grilling techniques. Bon Appétit!