Warm weather months are perfect for grilling. It’s important to consider safety, though. Every year, backyard grills cause thousands of fires throughout the US and Canada. For the sake of your family, your guests, and your home itself, it makes sense to take some extra steps to help ensure your cookout is safe.

Most of us have seen a house with melted or charred siding. In most cases, a grill is to blame. Consider these tips to help keep your cookout safe.

-Before you light the fire, move the grill away from your home or anything flammable. Look for an area that offers 10 feet of space in all directions. Also, avoid grilling under a tree or foliage that might catch fire.

-Place your grill on a level surface. Look for a flat, sturdy surface for your grill. This helps prevent tipping or falls.

-Where is the fire extinguisher? Keep it nearby. You don’t want to go running through the house or down into the basement looking for a fire extinguisher if there’s an emergency.

-Keep kids away from the lit grill. Cookouts mean the whole family is outside. If the kids are playing, be sure they are a safe distance away. Also, be sure to keep pets away from the grill.

-Wear a grilling apron. Many fabrics — and especially loose fabrics — can catch fire easily. Dress for the occasion. Also, use the right tools. Barbecue utensils have long handles that allow you to stay further away from the flame.

-Don’t use gasoline or other accelerants. Less is more when getting the fire started. If you’re grilling with charcoal, only use lighter fluid designed for grilling.

-Be sure the fire is out before leaving the grill unattended. Use water  to extinguish the fire if you’re grilling with charcoal.

-Check your grill’s condition before firing up the grill. Cracked hoses or leaking tanks are both reasons to postpone the cookout. Replace any parts that need to be replaced.

How your home insurance protects your home

Happiness is never having to place a home insurance claim. But if the unexpected happens, accidental fire is a covered risk on a home insurance policy.

Your policy can help pay to repair your home if it’s damaged by fire. That includes the siding, roof, walls, and structural components.

Your policy can also help cover the cost of replacing your belongings if fire damages some items inside (or outside) your home.

Other structures on your property are also covered, like sheds, for example.

Your policy also offers coverage for injuries to others. In some cases, your liability coverage can help. For less severe injuries, many policies offer coverage for medical payments to others.

Accidents happen, but with a few extra precautions, many backyard mishaps can be avoided. If you have questions about your coverage, just reach out to your broker.