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Grilling Safety 101: Preventing and Handling Outdoor Fires

Hey, grill masters—we know you’ve got mean skills with the spatula, but is your grilling safety up to par? When the grill covers come off, and the sun is heating up, there’s nothing like sweet and smoky barbecue, charred vegetables, and sizzling burgers and dogs to take the first bites of summer. But before you get to grilling, we want to share some safety tips on outdoor cooking.

Our friends at SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties respond to many calls on fire damage repair and restoration. So, we asked for their help so you can learn the basics of grilling safety and know what to do if there’s an outdoor fire from cooking.

Grilling Safety and Handling Fires

 Grilling Safety 101

  • Keep your grill at least 10 feet away from your house. The further, the better. Whether you are using a gas or charcoal grill, keep your grill away from your home, carport, garage, shed, awning, and overhangs.
  • Always have a fire extinguisher handy. SERVPRO recommends keeping a Class B fire extinguisher nearby whenever you fire up the grill. Class B extinguishers are designed to fight Class B fires caused by flammable gas or oil.
  • Clean your grill regularly. A buildup of fat and grease on your grill is the perfect fuel for fire (and not the kind you want). Regularly clean your grill to minimize the risk of flare-ups.
  • Never turn on the gas while the grill lid is closed. If you are using a gas grill, turning on the gas while the lid is closed can cause a buildup in your grill. When you light it, a fireball can erupt in your face. Always open the lid before turning on the gas.
  • Never leave the grill unattended. A fire can double in size every 30 seconds, says SERVPRO. So, that one minute you ran inside to grab the buns, the cheese, and barbecue sauce could be devastating. Make sure all your food prep is done in advance.

 Handling and Preparing for Outdoor Fires

The best way to handle an outdoor fire caused by grilling is to be prepared and follow our grilling safety tips. Here are a few things to remember.

  • Keep a box of baking soda near your grill. In the event an extinguisher is not available, baking soda (never baking powder) can be highly effective in cutting the supply of oxygen and dousing the flames. Never use flour or water to put out a grease fire and take grilling safety seriously.
  • Turn off the burners. If a fire erupts on the grill and you are able to safely reach the burner knobs, turn them off. This will help stop additional fuel from feeding the fire.
  • Close the grill lid. Again, if you are able to safely reach the lid handle, close the lid of the grill to further starve the fire of oxygen and slow it down.
  • Use a fire extinguisher. If the fire is still growing in intensity, use the P.A.S.S. technique with your Class B fire extinguisher. First, pull the pin. Aim low at the base of the fire. Squeeze the handle or trigger. Then sweep from side to side.

 Have you experienced a fire at your home and need a cleanup crew to restore your residence? SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties is faster to any size disaster and offers 24-hour emergency service. Their highly trained fire restoration specialists can help hit reset on property damage. Contact them today by calling 609-624-0202.