Summer grilling safety tips may seem like a cheesy article topic, but for a Property Manager of a single family home or a Multi-Family building, you have more to lose and less control of those individuals grilling at your property.
Most Insurance carriers require Multi-Family properties to prohibit the use of BBQ grills of any kind and for the simple reason that fires do occur from carelessness or inexperienced Grillers. Read and pass along to your Tenants to lower your risk of a fire at your property this Summer.
Jennifer Moffitt, CIC, CWCA
The rental property industry is very competitive; the more a property has to offer, the better chance of renting the home. Travelers who seek lodging in a rental property for their vacation needs are looking for the host with the most– amenities that is. A grill is an inexpensive amenity to offer guests, but can be an expensive problem for the homeowner if safety precautions are not followed. If a grill is provided, a safety checklist should also be provided.
Where to Use
Charcoal and propane grills should only be used outdoors, well away from the home. According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), 30 percent of all home grill structure fires start on an exterior balcony or unenclosed porch. (See References 1) Other areas to avoid are screen enclosures, eaves, lawn toys and overhanging branches. A concrete platform can be created for grill placement in the lawn; this will provide stability and may prevent guests from moving the grill to an unsafe area.
The use of grills in a well-ventilated area can help prevent exposure to toxic gasses and potential asphyxiation. A hot grill should never be moved or left unattended. Younger children and pets should be supervised and kept away from the grill by an adult. Clothing that is not loose or hanging should be worn, and cooking utensils designed for grill use should be used as they provide more clearance from the heat and fire.
The chance of a grill fire may be reduced by removing grease from collection trays and keeping the grill clean. For charcoal grills, always use the proper starting fluid and never add fluid to the grill if it has already been ignited. If a propane grill is being used, it may be difficult to determine the last time of usage and whether the grill has been maintained; a need to check the gas tank hose for leaks may be necessary. Adding a light soap and water to the hose can make a propane leak visible by releasing bubbles. If a leak is determined, either by leak test or smell, the gas tank and grill should be turned off and not used until the grill is serviced. If propane continues to leak once the tank and grill have been turned off, guests should move away from the grill and call the fire department.
The Lighter Side
Educating renters on the proper usage of a provided grill can protect the rental property and the renters. If precautions are taken and safety guidelines are followed, grilling can be a great activity for a family staying in a home away from home. A permanent posting of fire safety rules should be posted in every rental property. The NFPA has posted a detailed grill safety checklist on their website at NFPA.org.