With July Fourth on the horizon, a backyard barbecue may be on your mind.

July is a great month for grilling – but it is also a peak month for grilling fires. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, gas grills accounted for an annual average of 7,200 home fires in 2007-2011, while charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were involved in an annual average of 1,400 home fires.

While grilling provides a unique charred and smoky flavoring to food, it also presents an elevated element of risk. Follow these safety tips from Society Insurance as you venture outside to fire up the grill:

General Grill Tips

  • Read the owner’s manual of the grill and follow the specific usage, assembly and safety procedures.
  • Grills should not be used on decks or balconies.
  • Grills should not be used within 20 feet of a building, deck, building eave or overhead tree branches.
  • Keep guests and pets at least three feet away from your grilling area.
  • Keep the grill clean by removing grease and fat build-up.
  • Never leave the grill unattended.
  • Use the grill on a level, stable surface to avoid tipping over.
  • Use the grill outdoors in a well-ventilated area.
  • Don’t move the grill once it is hot.
  • Have a fire extinguisher ready nearby.

Propane Grill Tips

  • Always check the propane tank hose for cracks, holes or leaks before using the grill.
  • If you suspect a leak or smell gas while operating the grill, turn the grill off immediately.
  • Any grill that might have a gas leak should be serviced by a qualified professional before you use it again.
  • If a leak does not stop, immediately get away from the grill and call 911.

Safely grilling outside with friends

Charcoal Grill Tips

  • If you use starter fluid, only use charcoal starter fluid. Do not use gasoline or other non-approved flammable liquids.
  • Do not apply starter fluid to charcoal that has already been ignited.
  • When you are finished grilling, let the coals cool completely before disposing of the ashes.

Summertime grilling is enjoyed by many. Whether you prefer to grill with propane or charcoal, these simple tips from Society Insurance will have you on your way to grilling safely and a happy Fourth.

This information is provided as a convenience, and it must not be assumed that it has detected all unsafe acts or conditions. This information is not professional advice; it is designed to assist you in recognizing potential safe work problems and not to establish compliance with any law, rule or regulation.

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