NORTHBROOK, Ill., July 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As Independence Day approaches, barbecues all over the country are being prepared for use, but firing up the grill also requires firing up some common sense.
Grills have been the cause of more than 8,000 fires per year, according to a 2012 study released by the National Fire Protection Association, damaging porches, patios, balconies and more. July is the peak month for grill-related fires, so this is a great time for people to review the steps that can keep barbecuing safe.
"A backyard barbeque can be a terrific event, but it can also be a tragic event," said Ron Stouffer, senior vice president at Allstate Insurance. "The basics of safety when it comes to grilling aren't difficult, but ignoring them can put lives and property at risk."
Titled "Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment," the NFPA report released in November looked at fire data from 2006 to 2010. Fire departments responded to an average of 8,600 home fires started by grills in each of those years, with an average of 10 deaths, 140 injuries, and $75 million in property damage.
The NFPA report also said that 16,600 people went to hospital emergency rooms for injuries involving grills in 2011, with 7,800 of those injuries involving burns.
To avoid grilling disasters, Allstate Insurance provides the following safety tips to promote safe outdoor cooking all summer long:
- Make sure your barbecue grill is on a level surface far enough away from homes, furniture, children and pets
- Check to see grill legs are sturdy and avoid grilling on a combustible surface such as a wooden deck.
- Position your grill so sparks and smoke won't fly towards people, furniture or buildings
- Avoid grilling in a confined space and if possible, don't grill on balconies and decks of apartments and condominiums
- Protect your hands and body by using long-handled grilling tools, potholder-type gloves and a heavy apron when over the grill
- Keep lighted cigarettes, matches and open flames away from your grill
- Clean your grill after every use to avoid grease buildup at the bottom
For Charcoal Grills:
- Never allow burned coals to smolder in any container on a wooden deck and make sure to douse coals with water before they're disposed
- Do not discard used briquettes in a cardboard carton or any other combustible container
- Avoid using gasoline, kerosene, alcohol or a cigarette lighter to ignite a fire
- Do not add more starter fluid to an existing fire
- Only use enough charcoal to last for the amount of time it's needed
- Make sure the ash catcher is properly attached when using a kettle grill
- In the event of bad weather while grilling, do not move a grill indoors; hot charcoal can build up lethal levels of carbon monoxide.
For Gas Grills:
- Always store gas tanks in an upright position outside and away from your home or garage and out of the reach of children and pets
- Check to see tank valves are turned off when not in use
- To see if there may be a leak in a tube or connection, pour soapy water over it with the valve turned open – bubbles will appear if there is a leak. Should there be a leak, shut off the gas immediately and do not use the grill until it is repaired
And for all types of grilling, never leave your grill unattended when in use. Taking time to check for safety will have everyone remembering your outdoor party for the right reasons.
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer, serving approximately 16 million households through its Allstate, Encompass, Esurance and Answer Financial brand names and Allstate Financial business segment. Allstate branded insurance products (auto, home, life and retirement) and services are offered through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, and Allstate exclusive financial representatives, as well as via www.allstate.com, www.allstate.com/financial and 1-800 Allstate®, and are widely known through the slogan "You're In Good Hands With Allstate®." As part of Allstate's commitment to strengthen local communities, The Allstate Foundation, Allstate employees, agency owners and the corporation provided $29 million in 2012 to thousands of nonprofit organizations and important causes across the United States.
SOURCE The Allstate Corporation