Sizzling Summer Safety Tips
SERVPRO of Burlington/Middlebury would like to encourage Vermont residents to have safe summer celebrations by adhering to key safety protocols when firing up the grill.
SERVPRO of Burlington/Middlebury serves residents in the northern and central Vermont areas with residential and commercial fire restoration services twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week-even on holidays. Our SERVPRO of Burlington/Middlebury team wants everyone to enjoy safe summer celebrations while grilling out this season.
Grilling Safety Tips for a Safe Summer Celebration
Since virtually all COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted and the Canadian border has reopened, people are more than ready to finally celebrate this summer. Neighborhood gatherings are once again commonplace across the country, and many people are finally able to travel and visit loved ones. The grill, both an enjoyable and convenient way to cook, is now more popular than ever. However, this cause of summer culinary delight still requires regular inspection and maintenance. According to the National Fire Protection Association, grills cause or are involved in nearly 9,000 fires every year. Many backyard grill masters may be surprised to hear that gas grills typically account for five out of six of these reported grill fires! It is extremely important to understand three of the leading causes of gas grill fires in order to have a safe and enjoyable celebration.
1.Failure to clean the grill
This is the big one! Grease buildup in the trap creates a secondary fuel source that will eventually ignite if left unresolved. Temperatures in the grill can reach over 500 degrees Fahrenheit in minutes when the cover is lowered. Accumulated grease can flare up at this temperature, and the flames can potentially cause serious fire damage to anything close to the grill. A flashback fire can also result when nests from spiders and insects obstruct the flow of gas in the burner tubes. In this type of grill fire, flames shoot out around the control panel. Residual grease buildup from cooking fatty foods or anything marinated in oil can also result in a grill flare-up.
The key avoiding this risk and enjoying a summer cookout is to regularly remove accumulated grease and empty the grease cup, which is typically found under the grill. It’s also important to pay attention to the “flame tamers,” the flat steel shields located above the burners. By trimming the fat off meat or grilling at a lower temperature, excessive flare-ups can be prevented. Be sure to use an appropriately sized bottle brush to clean out burner tubes in order to prevent flashback fires. You’ll know if there’s a potential burner blockage if flames are yellow in color and burn unevenly across the burners.
- Locating the grill too close to flammable materials
Summer weather here in Vermont can be somewhat unpredictable. If unexpected inclement weather hits, there may be temptation to grill under an awning, on the porch, or at the mouth of the garage. The heat from a gas grill can ignite the awning, melt siding, or even catch the house on fire. Potted plants and artificial vegetation are typical porch décor and can easily ignite when exposed to the heat from a gas grill as well. The results could be disastrous, and it’s simply not a risk not taking. Make sure to grill in a well-ventilated area away from combustibles to avoid fire risk. NEVER grill on an enclosed porch garage and avoid cooking near shrubs or under low-hanging branches.
- Leaving the grill unattended
An unattended grill is a completely avoidable calamity waiting to happen. Serious burns can occur if curious children or pets come in to contact with a hot grill. Other animals, overpowered by the tasty sizzling aroma, may topple the grill or fall on to the grate in search of a meal. Also, if grease fires or flare-ups are not quickly extinguished, the propane tank can be damaged along with even the gas lines themselves. The consequences could be explosive. If the grill must be left unattended, make sure to shut off the gas. Even if this safety measure might compromise the meal, it is ultimately more important to prevent fire damage, personal injury, or damage to the grill. Our team here at SERVPRO of Burlington/Middlebury wish everyone a safe and joyful Green Mountain summer season!