Can you believe this weekend is Memorial Day? This all-American holiday means barbecues, pools, and summer.

As insurance agents, we are always thinking about safety. There are many things to keep in mind as you head outdoors this summer; but today, we are going to discuss something that will be happening in homes across America: grilling.

Did you know that 7,500 grill fires occur each year? Gas grills are responsible for the bulk of these fires, which cause roughly $70 million in damages -- not to mention thousands of injuries. Of these grill fires, about a third affect the structure or interior of homes, while the rest do outside damage. More grill fires occur in July than any other month, probably due to that mid-summer Independence Day holiday (fireworks -- we'll discuss those later!). But the other major summer holidays -- Labor Day and Memorial Day -- are also high on the list for grill-related injuries.

Luckily, most fires and injuries caused by grilling are easily preventable:

1. Never grill inside. If it's raining, order a pizza -- don't bring the barbecue indoors. Always grill in a well-ventilated area, away from flammable objects.

2. Clean your grill -- keep it free of extra grease and buildup.

3. Never add lighter fluid to an already-burning fire on a charcoal grill.

4. Check gas grills for leaks by applying soapy water to the hose and looking for bubbles. Bubbles indicate a gas leak, so seek repairs immediately if you notice leaks.

5. Grills and alcohol consumption don't mix. Neither do grills and smoking, grills and children, or grills and pets.

If a fire does break out, call 911 right away.

Also, if you're going to be hosting lots of barbecues this summer, it's always a good idea to read up on your homeowner's policy -- just in case the worst should happen.

So, Happy Memorial Day! Please be safe -- and enjoy those hot dogs, burgers and kebabs!

Photo Credits: Paul Swansen, Montgomery County Planning Commission.

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