Millions of households regularly take advantage of pleasant, warmer weather by grilling meals outside. While this act is as much recreation as it is cooking, it also represents a serious source of property damage and injury.

Each year in the U.S., fires that occur due to outdoor grilling result in some deaths, hundreds of serious injuries and millions of dollars in losses to homes and other structures such as decks, garages, sheds, etc. Most injuries consist of emergency room visits to treat primarily burns, lacerations and poisoning (carbon monoxide fumes).

When using grills, it is quite important to do so safely, using practices that minimize chances that fire will escape grills or that persons will suffer burns. This care extends to all phases of use such as loading charcoal grills, lighting fires, cooking, extinguishing flames or hot coals, and storage of materials.

Here is advice to make outdoor grilling as safe as possible:

• Place grills on level surfaces to reduce likelihood of tip overs

• Only operate grills in an area that is properly ventilated and not too close to flammable materials or structures (such as wood fences, decks, shrubs, overhanging tree branches, etc.)

• Avoid operating grills in indoor or enclosed areas where carbon monoxide fumes can build

• Carefully supervise children and pets when a grill is being used

• Using lighter fluid on coals? Yes, but NEVER use other accelerants such as gas or kerosene

• Don't squirt more lighter fluid on coals that have already been lit.

• Handling food on the grill with long-handled utensils and oven mitts is always a good idea

When finished with cooking on a grill, extinguish coals by lowering lids and carefully closing any grill vents. Again, use of mitts is wise. If hot coals must be moved to extinguish, individually put coals in sand or water. Important, steam is dangerous so NEVER pour coals into water or pour water onto coals.

Insurance? It's there to handle most injury and damage that result from grill accidents. But proper grilling practice will do what's best…preventing accidents.

Source - ©The Rough Notes Company, Inc.

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