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Karl Newman, President
Sandi Henke, Communications Director

NW Insurance Council    
Phone: (800) 664-4942
Fax: (206) 624-1975
Follow at Twitter/nwinsuranceinfo

Safe Outdoor Grilling: Common sense a key ingredient

SEATTLE - Grilling outdoors is a terrific way to enjoy warm weather with friends and family. However, common sense is the key ingredient to prevent your summer from becoming tragic and costly, because an improperly handled grill can cause fires and poorly-connected propane tanks can be explosive.

Common sense is the key ingredient to prevent your holiday from becoming tragic and costly.

From 2006 to 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 8,600 home fires each year involving grills, hibachis or barbecues. These 8,600 fires averaged 10 civilian deaths, 140 civilian injuries and $75 million in direct property damage each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Backyard grillers with Homeowners Insurance can have peace of mind knowing that standard Homeowners policies cover injury to others and damage to your home, its contents and structures on your property caused by fire.

"Your Homeowners policy covers damage from fire caused by a barbecuing accident," said Karl Newman, NW Insurance Council president. "However, the cost, hassle and danger associated with a fire can be reduced or eliminated by following common-sense safety guidelines that can make an insurance claim unnecessary."

For furniture and personal belongings, most companies provide replacement cost coverage up to 70 percent of the amount of insurance you have on the structure of your home, subject to both your deductible and policy limitations for special items such as jewelry, furs or antiques.

NW Insurance Council offers these tips to help you safely enjoy your barbecue this Fourth of July:

  • When ready to barbecue, wear a heavy apron and an oven mitt that fits high up over your forearm.
  • With gas grills, make sure the gas cylinder is always stored outside and away from your house. Make sure valves are off when you are not using them. Regularly check for leaks in the connections using a soap and water mix that will show bubbles where gas escapes.
  • Keep your barbecue grill on a level surface away from the house. Be sure to leave sufficient space between the grill and siding, eaves, garage and landscaping.
  • For charcoal grills, only use starter fluids designed for those grills. Never use gasoline, and only use a limited amount of starter fluid. If the fire is too low, add dry kindling and more charcoal if necessary. Never add more liquid fuel to a burning grill. You could experience a flash fire.
  • Be sure to soak the coals with water before you put them in the trash.

For more information on grilling safety and Homeowners Insurance, contact NW Insurance Council at (800) 664-4942.

NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education organization funded by member insurance companies serving Washington, Oregon and Idaho.