Although most residents of Florida’s Gulf Coast can enjoy warm-weather activities throughout the year, the summer months still allow many of us time to take part in barbecues and other outdoor festivities. However, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, summer brings “extreme heat” with it, and higher temperatures can make certain activities more dangerous.
Whether you live in an apartment building in downtown Tampa or in a single-family home with a large yard in Sarasota, it is important to understand how fire damage to a home occurs due to a BBQ grill and steps you can take to avoid this type of damage. What do you need to know to prevent fire damage to your property this summer?
General Barbecue Safety Tips
For many Floridians, the summer months are hot and humid, but they are also ideal for hosting and attending barbecues. Indeed, a lot of us associate barbecuing with summertime. Even if you are simply grilling for a family meal on a weekday this summer, it is important to understand the fire risks posed by barbecues. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides some helpful tips when it comes to fire prevention and safe grilling:
- Only use your propane or charcoal barbecue grills outside;
- Place your barbecue away from your house, any deck railings, and well away from any overhanging palm tree branches or other greenery in your backyard;
- Regularly remove grease and fat buildups from your grill trays and below the grill to prevent a grease fire;
- Keep children and pets “at least three feet away” from where you have set up your BBQ grill;
- Always open the lid to a propane grill before you light it; and
- Do not leave your grill unattended.
Properly Maintain Your Propane Grill
The above tips are some general safety measures for ensuring that you do not start a fire while barbecuing. However, depending on whether you use a propane grill or a charcoal grill, the NFPA has specific tips for avoiding a fire this summer. If you use a propane grill, you should heed the following advice:
- Before you use your propane grill, check the tank hose for any leaks by applying a “light soap and water solution to the hose.” If you have a propane leak, the hose will release bubbles.
- In addition to the “soapy bubbles test,” you might also smell gas-this can also be a sign of a leak.
- If there is no flame when you try to start your grill, turn off the gas tank and the grill immediately, because the lack of a flame can also indicate that you have a gas leak.
- If at any point you smell gas while you are barbecuing food, move away from your grill and contact your local fire department.
Charcoal Grill Safety
If you use a charcoal grill, the NFPA emphasizes the following:
- Only use a charcoal starter fluid to get your grill going, and do not add additional fluid or other flammable materials once the fire has started.
- Do not allow your children to have access to charcoal fluid.
- Allow your charcoal coals to cool completely before you dispose of them. You should always dispose of them in a metal container for safety.
The NFPA highlights that “July is the peak month for grill fires,” and as such, it is important for West Central Floridians to be extremely careful when barbecuing this summer. If another party’s carelessness results in property damage from a fire, you should speak with an experienced West Central Florida fire damage attorney about filing a claim for compensation. Contact the Wells Law Group, P.A., today.