Warm weather means more outdoor grilling and more grilling means more grill-caused fires, which is why we wrote this article about grilling safety tips for Michigan homeowners.

The National Fire Protection Agency did a study found fire departments responded to an annual average of 9,600 grill-related fires between 2011 and 2015. Homes with gas grills are more likely to have an incident than those who have charcoal grills.

Whether you have a gas or charcoal grill, these safety tips apply to both. Keep your home and family safe while BBQ’n this summer.

1. Don’t Grill Near Structures

When setting up your grill, make sure to keep it away from low hanging branches. Outdoor grills set up in courtyards, terraces, or patios start almost 27% percent of fires outside the home.

2. Stability

Keep your grill on a flat even surface. If your grill sits on your deck or patio, think about getting a splatter mat to keep underneath.

3. Keep it Clean

Clean your grill after each use. Removing grease or fat build up from the grill and tray below causes less chance of a fire. For charcoal grills, make sure the coals are completely cool before throwing them out in a metal container.

4. Check for Propane Leaks

Before starting your gas grill, check the tank hose for any leaks. You can do this by applying a light soap and water solution to the hose and then turning the gas on. If the hose is leaking propane, the solution will bubble. You can also detect a propane leak if you smell gas or if the flame won’t light.


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5. Grill Flame

If the light on your grill goes out, don’t re-light it right away. Turn the grill and the gas off and wait 5 minutes before trying to relight it.

6. Use Caution

While the grill is active, never leave it unattended. Keep pets and young children away from the grill. Don’t try and move it while it is lit or still hot, and keep in mind it will stay hot even an hour after you turn it off.

7. Use Start Fluid with Caution

It can be tempting to use something other than charcoal starter fluid on a charcoal grill. However, you shouldn’t use anything other than the specific fluid. Don’t try and add any liquids to the fire if your flame starts to die down. Instead, use a charcoal chimney starter. This uses newspaper to start the fire and build it up instead of starter fluid. It’s safer, and all stay in the grill.

8. Clothing

Keep your apron strings, loose shirts, sleeves, and other clothing away from the fire. You don’t want it to dangle over the flame and risk catching fire.

9. Be Prepared for the Worst

If a grill fire breaks out, don’t throw water on it! Water makes grease fires worse. Instead, keep a box of baking soda on hand or a bucket of sand. The best-case scenario is to have a fire extinguisher on hand. You can find small ones to keep under your kitchen sink or out on the patio.

Follow These Tips, Be Safe, Have Fun & Keep On Grilling!

Michigan homeowners, keep your house and your family safe this BBQ season. Take the necessary safety precautions to cut down your risk of a fire by following these nine grilling safety tips. In the event of a grill fire, contact your local fire department right away.

If you need homeowners insurance, want to save money on home insurance or have any questions please contact a local Michigan Compass Insurance Agent today. They’ll also be able to walk you through the steps of filing a fire claim and assessing the damages, as well as, will review your homeowner’s policy and guide you through your coverage.