| May 28, 2021

Just like hamburgers and hot dogs, a sizzling grill is a symbol of summer. But grilling isn't just about great food and perfect grill marks on your steak and veggies, backyard barbecues often create treasured memories with family, friends, and neighbors.

Keep in mind, however, that when you grill, you're literally playing with fire. Thousands of people each year learn this the hard way, suffering damage to their homes and property, or being seriously injured in grilling accidents.

In 2012, Hannah Storm, an ESPN SportsCenter anchor, was badly burned while preparing to cook dinner for her children. After wind blew out the flame, propane gas pooled on her grill and became an explosive fireball when she attempted to re-ignite it. Only the instinct to close her eyes upon seeing the flame saved her corneas, but her face, neck, chest and hands suffered first- and second-degree burns.

You can prevent grilling accidents by taking some simple precautions. The tips below can help ensure you cook only burgers - and not your house -  and prevent injury the next time you fire up the grill.


  • Your grill, whether gas or charcoal, should be on a level surface outdoors, away from anything that could be ignited by flames such as bushes, fences, deck railings, or outdoor furniture.
  • NEVER use a grill indoors. Odorless carbon monoxide fumes could kill you.
  • Keep your grill clean and well-maintained. Remove grease buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill. Check parts regularly to determine if replacements are needed.
  • Never leave a hot grill unattended or let children or pets play near it.


  • Do not add lighter fluid directly to hot coals. The flame could travel up the stream of fluid and burn you.
  • Never use gasoline or kerosene to light a charcoal fire.
  • Use flame-retardant mitts and long-handled barbecue tongs, as coals can reach up to 1000 degrees.
  • To dispose of coals, allow the ashes to cool for at least 48 hours before disposal in a non-combustible container. If you can't wait 48 hours, carefully place coals individually in a can of sand or bucket of water.


  • Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or by the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.
  • If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 15 minutes before re-lighting it.
  • Do not keep a filled propane tank in a hot car or trunk. When getting containers refilled, make that your last stop before going home.
  • Store propane tanks in an upright position, and never indoors. (source)

From all of us at ALINK Insurance Services®, happy grilling, and stay safe this summer!


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