Follow these essential grilling safety tips to guarantee great food and a great time!
Memorial Day weekend has arrived, and millions of Americans will be grilling up their favorite meats & veggies and spending time outdoors with family and friends. As your insurance agent and trusted risk adviser, we feel it’s our duty to remind you of the dangers your grill can pose and help you stay safe. We hope you’ve stocked on supplies because the stores are going to get busy!
Let’s start with the basics – before igniting.
- Remove any and all debris from the area before lighting your grill.
- If you’re using a propane unit, carefully inspect the gas hose for holes and potential leaks. (If you smell gas later on while cooking, step away from the grill and call the fire department!)
- Make sure your grill unit is a safe distance away from low hanging branches, roof overhangs, and other hazards before igniting. Some people move their grill on occasions like cookouts, for reasons like getting a better view of all the fun being had by the pool. Just make sure you’re still in a safe, level spot before igniting. The last thing you need is a property damage and an insurance claim spoiling your holiday!
- Open the lid! You should never light a gas grill while the lid is closed, it’s a fire hazard.
Following the safety tips above helps to ensure you’re safely igniting your grill, but there’s also important tips to keep in mind once your grill unit is lit.
- If you’re using a charcoal grill, never add additional starter fluid if coals/kindling have already been ignited.
- Never leave a lit grill unattended, for any reason. It can be tempting to run back and forth between the kitchen and grill, or easy to get distracted while trying to socialize with guests, but be mindful of the fact you’ve got a 500+ degree fire you need to keep a close eye on.
- Follow instructions for whatever you’re cooking. Most experienced grillers know by now that there’s different times, temperatures, and rules for lid-open/lid-shut, move-around/don’t touch… all depending on what you’re cooking. Steak should be cooked with different technique than bone-in chicken, and vice versa. There’s lots of great resources online to learn from.
Ok, but what about once the food’s done? These two last tips are dependent on the type of grill you’re using.
- If it’s charcoal, make sure coals have completely cooled before disposing. They can retain heat for a long time and start a fire if not properly discarded.
- If it’s gas, carefully close the valve until it’s as tight as possible and close the lid to allow the burners and grates to cool without posing a hazard to your guests.
We hope you’ll keep these tips in mind and have a fun, relaxing and safe time this weekend, and for the rest of the grilling season! As it is Memorial Day this Monday, we hope you’ll also take time to reflect on the courage and ultimate sacrifice so many men and women have made for our freedom.