Keep Your Labor Day Celebrations Safe-Cooking and Grilling
Posted September 2, 2013 | Filed under topic Fun Facts About Home Insurance
The leaves haven’t yet started to turn, but students are heading back to school, and fall schedules are getting underway. Like many, you may be planning to celebrate the last of the summer holidays with a family gathering and cookout. Sometimes we take for granted that everything is going to work just the way we expect it to but when you work with fire, or gas, there is always the chance of an explosion, burns, or an out of control fire. Keep Labor Day, labor free by following our simple safety guidelines for cooking and grilling inside and outside your home. Nothing ruins a good family get together quicker than an unexpected fire or injury. It is also the perfect time to review your homeowners’ insurance policy and coverage limits.
- Before you begin using your grill you should take time to read through the instructions. This is especially important if you are using a gas grill. Follow any specific usage, assembly or safety procedures. If you have unanswered questions, contact the manufacturer of your grill.
- Barbecue grills are designed for outdoor use only. Never barbecue inside your home, trailer, tent, garage or enclosed area. Carbon monoxide can accumulate quickly and kill you.
- Make sure you place the grill in an open area away from any buildings, or combustible surfaces such as leaves or bushes. Avoid high traffic areas and keep an eye on any wind-blown sparks as the fire burns and as you cook.
- Make sure the grill is on a stable, flat surface so that it cannot be easily tipped over.
- If you are using any additional electric accessories like a rotisserie, make sure they are properly grounded and in compliance with local fire and electrical codes. All electric cords should be placed away from walkways and areas where people are likely to trip over them.
- Avoid loose fitting clothing with hanging shirt tails, long sleeves, apron strings or other articles that can catch fire. Use flame retardant oven mitts when adjusting hot vents, removing the lid or removing food from the grill.
- Use barbecue utensils with long handles to avoid burns.
- Move the cooking grid higher, spread coals evenly, or adjust controls to lower the temperature if you experience a flare-up while cooking. Keep a spray bottle of water handy. If you need to spray water on the flames to control them remove the food first (if possible).
- Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby the grill for grease fires or fires that burn out of control. If you do not have an extinguisher, keep a bucket of sand and a garden hose ready.
- Never leave the grill unattended, and do not allow anyone to conduct activities near the grill while it is in use, or while the grill is still hot. Most grills remain hot for up to an hour or more after being used.
- Never leave the stove unattended with food cooking on it. According to insurance claim studies, unattended cooking was the leading contributing factor to home fires.
- Most home cooking fires start with the ignition of food or other cooking materials. Keep an eye on cooking food and make sure all cooking surfaces are free of extraneous materials.
- Do not cook with loose clothing, clothing with extra long sleeves that can make contact with a hot surface. Apart from the food, clothing is generally the next item to ignite in a kitchen fire and burning clothes are the prime cause of cooking deaths.
- Frying poses the greatest risk of fire so constant monitoring is crucial. Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby in the event of a grease fire. If one is not available try to smother it by putting a lid over the fire.
- Make sure you have proper ventilation when you cook. Use a stove fan.
- If a fire starts call 911 right away for help.
- Be extra careful on Thanksgiving day. It is the peak day for cooking fires.
As summer comes to a close it is a good time to review your homeowners insurance. Homeowners, fire,and hazard protection is often a condition of receiving a mortgage so you want to make sure your coverage limits are keeping up with the value of your home and possessions. Speak with your insurance agent about a homeowners review.