2004-09-03 / Columnists

Labor Day Home Barbequing Can Cook Up Trouble

Every year, careless use of barbecue grills is the cause of hundreds of fires. The resulting property damage can be widespread and expensive! Careless grilling costs millions of dollars and, tragically, can also cost people their lives.

Special holidays such as July 4 and Labor Day exacerbate the problem because of the numbers of people who use those days for family barbeques and picnics.

“Even a moment of carelessness with a barbecue grill can cause a situation that is costly and dangerous,” said Manuel Goncalves of Allstate Insurance Company. “However, understanding the causes of common grilling accidents and taking the appropriate safety precautions help people avoid dangerous situations during the outdoor cooking season.”

With the Labor Day weekend approaching, the following tips from the Allstate Insurance Company can help everyone enjoy their barbeque grills safely:


· Be sure your grill is sturdy and stable, especially if it stands on legs. Take special care on a combustible surface.

· Place your grill so that sparks and smoke won’t fly toward buildings, furniture or people.

· Prevent burns and protect your clothing with a heavy apron and potholder-type gloves.

· Use only enough charcoal to last for the time it is needed.

· Properly attach your ash catcher when using a kettle grill.

· Douse the coals thoroughly with water after grilling.

· Transport, store and use propane gas cylinders in an upright position only.


· Barbecue in a confined space; if possible, don’t grill on balconies and decks of apartments and condominiums.

· Use gasoline, kerosene, alcohol or a cigarette lighter to start a fire.

· Add more starter fluid to an existing fire.

· Leave a grill unattended once the coals are lit.

· Move outdoor barbecues indoors. Smoldering charcoal can build up lethal concentrations of carbon monoxide.

· Discard used briquettes in a cardboard carton or any other combustible container.

For more information on grilling safety or other safety topics, please contact your local Allstate agent.

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