6 Tips for Fire Safety this BBQ Season
As the days get longer and the weather heats up, grill enthusiasts everywhere start readying their lighters. It’s not just grilling season, though – summer is also one of the busiest call seasons for fire departments. Why? If not handled properly, grilling is a significant fire hazard and starts many a backyard fire. Here are some grilling safety tips to help you have fun and do plenty of safe (and delicious!) grilling this summer.
Only Grill Outside
While having a BBQ get-together in your garage or covered patio may seem fun, one of the most significant safety hazards is having charcoal and gas grills inside. Getting too close to your home’s siding, eaves, or deck rails can spell disaster. Almost every grill is designed to be used strictly in well-ventilated, open outdoor areas.
Create a Safe Zone
Create an area at least three feet wide around your grill that is clear of other objects or living things. Objects that may not seem flammable can still be a fire safety risk. If they get in your way or you don’t see them underfoot, they could cause you to trip, stumble, and burn yourself. In addition, pets and children are unpredictable and don’t always understand that the grill can hurt them.
Keep a Fire Extinguisher Nearby
Even with all objects cleared away in a 3-foot circle, the chance of a fire is never zero. Starter fluid may drip on the ground without you noticing, and gas grills may develop propane leaks. No matter how unlikely you think a fire is, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Keeping a fire extinguisher nearby ensures that you can act fast in the event of a fire.
How to Use a Fire Extinguisher Properly
Most fire extinguishers have instructions, but you won’t have time to read them in the heat of the moment. It’s a good idea to learn the basic instructions for using a fire extinguisher:
- Pull the pin located at the top.
- Aim the nozzle at the base of the flames. Aiming at the top will be ineffective.
- Squeeze the handle/lever so that the white substance comes out.
- Aim the nozzle using sweeping motions from side to side, covering as much area at the base of the fire as you can.
- Do not stop until the flames go out entirely.
4. Never Leave the Grill Unattended
A grilling fire only takes moments to start. Even after you’re done using it and the flames have been extinguished, the grill stays hot for some time (especially charcoal grills). Wait until the grill is completely cool before walking away.
5. Check for Leaks Before Lighting
If you're using a gas grill, check for a gas leak before lighting it. If the grill has an unnoticed gas leak and you light it without realizing it, it could cause the propane tank to ignite.
Make sure you wear safe clothes before turning the grill on. Charcoal starter may cause small bits of flaming material to fall, which can land on or near your feet. If you’re wearing open-toed shoes this may burn you. Wearing loose or dangling sleeves is also a significant risk, because flames can flare up from fat drips, and they may catch on fire.
How to Handle a BBQ Fire
If your grill starts a fire, it can quickly grow and spread, becoming more dangerous as it does so. It is essential to know how to handle it quickly and safely if a fire should occur.
If you can reach the grill’s knobs without risk of getting burned, turn everything off. Remove the food and smother the flames with baking soda, sand, or salt (depending on what you have available). To be safe, close the lid and vents to prevent additional oxygen from fueling the fire.If you cannot safely reach the grill’s knobs, do not reach for the hose. This is either a gas or grease-fueled fire, which is only accelerated by adding water. If you use a gas grill and the fire is spreading or has already spread to the propane tank, evacuate the area immediately. Call the fire department once you reach a safe distance. Propane tanks have a lot of fuel and are under pressure. This combination leads to the risk of explosion.
Call AdvantaClean for Smoke and Soot Removal
We genuinely hope that everyone can enjoy a safe grilling season. Still, accidents do happen. If your fun family BBQ turned into a disaster, and you’re now left to clean up the damage, call the experts at AdvantaClean to help you out. We specialize in fire damage restoration, smoke and soot removal, and other kinds of disaster clean-up and mold remediation. We’re available around the clock for emergencies, so call us at (877) 800-2382 to set up an appointment.