It’s a hot summer evening. The sun has set but the air is still warm and twinkling lights keep the space bright. There’s a small breeze that is pleasant and welcomed. You’re sat in your yard, and a couple of your friends lounge in camping chairs, drink in hand, sipping away and chatting together.
The kids chase each other around the garden giggling and squeaking in excitement. Your favorite songs fill the air from the boom box placed on the side. And you. You stand beside your grill frying up some hotdogs and hamburgers.
The smell of fried onions wafts around the yard as your partner places condiments and cutlery on the garden table.
For a second, just a small moment in time, it’s as if the picture freezes. You’re happy, and content. There’s nothing better than family and friend time like this. You can feel the anticipation rolling off everyone as they await the bountiful meal that awaits them.
And then suddenly, and all at once, it happens. The feeling of unexpected yet relentless heat. A glass smashes and you hear someone scream. Fire! The grill’s on fire.
What do you do? Do you know how to contain it? Do you know how to keep yourself and your family safe? The next few moves that you make will make the difference between quashing a small fire and getting back on with your evening or making matters much, much worse.
You should always be prepared for a grease fire, and know the necessary steps to take to put it out. In this article, we’ll go over everything that you’ll need to know.
How To Handle Grease Fires
Grease fires from grills are probably more common than you might think. In fact, there are more than 10,000 home fires caused by grills every single year. And those summer months are particularly known for them. But considering they are actually quite common, it’s vital that you know how to respond should the situation ever occur.
Being prepared for this type of situation will reduce a fair amount of sheer panic. And panic is probably one of the worst ways to aggravate a fire. People make silly mistakes when panic sets in and those panic-induced moves can be what makes the situation a whole lot worse.
Let’s take a look at everything you should know about handling a grease fire.
1. Be Prepared
While you may use your grill 100 times and never have any issues, it takes only the smallest of mistakes or instances for it to catch alight. This is why every time you set yourself behind that grill you should always have your phone close by.
You never know when you’re going to need to call the emergency services and in these situations, those minutes or even seconds can all matter. You don’t want to be stumbling around trying to find a phone to be able to call the fire department while that inferno continues to blaze.
2. Never Use Water
This is where avoiding panic can become useful. I think we all learn from an early age that water and fat oil don’t mix well together. We are forever told that you shouldn’t mix fat oil and water together, but in those moments of panic when you see those flames that oil can become pretty much non-existent in your mind.
Your brain sees fire and says water puts out fire. Which in some circumstances is true. But not these circumstances. Your grill is full of fatty oil from the meat that you’re cooking on the grill.
If you do have a grease fire, pouring water over that fire will not quash the flames. It’ll actually do the exact opposite. It’ll leave you with a bigger and more dangerous fire to contend with.
3. Move Your Meat
Instead, what you should do, is try to remain calm and try and help slow the fire down. If you’ve got meat on your grill that is filled with fatty oils, you’re going to want to try and get them out of the way of the fire as soon as possible. Carefully place them in an indirect zone where there is no fire and wait for the fat to burn before returning them.
4. Turn Off The Grill Vents & Add Baking Soda Or Salt
If the flames are quite large, you shouldn’t risk trying to reach the meat. You should only do this if it is safe to do so. If it is not safe to do so, turn off the burners to try and decrease the size of the flame.
Once the burners are off, baking soda or salt placed on top of the fire will quash the fire pretty quickly and efficiently.
5. Call 911/Fire Department
Having a fire extinguisher beside you during grilling is always a good idea. If the fire is truly out of hand you can use this to distinguish it.
However, if the fire is particularly fierce, and none of these tricks are helping, or it is too powerful to try some of these steps then you should always immediately call for help from your local fire department.
An unexpected fire is always going to be a fair shock to the system and it’s always going to cause a little bit of panic. But it’s really vital that you get that panic under control and ensure that you know the correct steps to take to ensure not only your own safety but also everyone else’s too.
If you are cooking on a grill, you should always be aware of the steps that must be taken when a grease fire occurs. Especially considering they can be so common.
Hopefully, from reading this article, you now have a better understanding of how to handle grease fires should they ever occur.