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Ensure Safety and Protect Your Property with OMC Claims, Ireland’s Premier Loss Assessors

With the sun gracing us with its presence, more and more people in towns and cities across Ireland are venturing outdoors. The tantalising aroma of burgers in Borrisokane and sausages in Salthill wafting over fences has transformed ordinary individuals into aspiring Jamie Olivers, eager to showcase their grilling prowess on charcoal or gas barbecues.

As Policyholder Advocates, we have handled claims for damage caused fires that have originated from outdoor cooking equipment: either where they have ‘gone on fire’ directly, or where stray coals or radiant heat has caused a spread of fire to adjacent combustible materials, such as timber garden sheds or balconies.

Prevention is Key: Top Ten Safety Measures for Outdoor Cooking

When you embark on your culinary adventures on the patio, remember that prevention is always better than cure. Here are OMC Claims’ top ten safety measures to ensure worry-free outdoor cooking sessions:

  1. Proper BBQ Placement:
    • Set up your barbecue grill on a stable, non-flammable surface away from any structures, overhanging branches, or combustible materials.
    • Maintain a safe distance of at least 10 feet (3 meters) from buildings, fences, and outdoor structures.
  2. Keep a Fire Extinguisher Handy:
    • Have a fire extinguisher rated for all types of fires (Class A, B, and C) readily available near the barbecue area.
    • Ensure you know how to use the fire extinguisher properly. We have recently had to review and comment upon CCTV footage of a panicked employee throwing a fire extinguisher at a flaming oil fire.
  3. Regular Cleaning and Maintenance:
    • Season BBQ chefs will tell you that “it all adds to the flavour”, but instead it’s best to clean your barbecue grill regularly to remove grease buildup, which can ignite and cause flare-ups.
    • Check for any gas leaks or blockages in propane grills and ensure all connections are secure.
  4. Safe Lighting and Ignition:
    • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for lighting and igniting your barbecue grill.
    • Use long-handled lighters or igniting tools to keep a safe distance from the flames.
  5. Never Leave Unattended:
    • Never leave a lit barbecue unattended, especially when children or pets are present.
    • Assign someone to supervise the grill at all times.
  6. Safe Food Handling:
    • Practice safe food handling procedures to prevent cross-contamination and foodborne illnesses, e.g. “I had a great time at Seamus’ BBQ the other night. I’ve spent three days in the bathroom and I’ve lost two stone.”
    • Ensure meats are cooked thoroughly to the recommended internal temperatures.
  7. Use Safe Utensils and Tools:
    • Use long-handled utensils and heat-resistant gloves to avoid burns when handling hot surfaces, grates, or food.
  8. Proper Charcoal Disposal:
    • Allow charcoal ashes to cool completely before disposing of them in a metal container.
    • Store the container away from combustible materials until the ashes are completely cold.
  9. Monitor Wind Conditions:
    • Be cautious and aware of wind conditions while grilling, as strong gusts can quickly spread sparks and flames.
  10. Outdoor Fire Pits and Chimneys:
    • If using an outdoor fire pit or chimney, follow local regulations and manufacturer guidelines.
    • Ensure proper ventilation and a safe distance from structures and flammable materials.

Even with the utmost of care, being mindful of the risk of fire, accidents can and do happen. That’s what insurance policies are for, after all. In the (thankfully rare) event that you sustain a loss due to fire, please reach out to us immediately on 1800 29 39 40 or info@omcclaims.ie and we can start to manage the claim process for you and make it deliver the best possible outcome.

Seamus O’Leary leads OMC’s Technical Claims Team applying his experience and background as a Quantity Surveyor and Loss Adjuster. He has hands-on claims management experience and consults on complex insurance claims for commercial and individual clients alike right across the country. Seamus has previously worked for Bowen Construction as a site-based Quantity Surveyor on multi-million-pound projects, transitioning to Sedgwick in 2000 to join their team of Loss Adjusters, adjusting claims for every insurer. He is a holds a degree in Quantity Surveying and is a member of the Insurance Institute of Ireland.