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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

How to have a safe winter grilling experience: Twelve mistakes to avoid

1/25/2023 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Waxahachie/Midlothian highlights twelve safety tips for a great grilling experience during the winter months.

The team of fire and water damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian is sharing twelve winter grilling safety tips for Venus, TX, residents. By following a great recipe and the grilling safety tips listed below, the winter grilling experience can be both delicious and safe.

1. Give the grill enough space

The temptation is to position the grill so that it is in the shade. However, grilling under an awning or under tree branches creates a risk hazard for fire. Embers from a charcoal or wood pellet fire can easily catch nearby objects on fire. Grills, whether gas, charcoal, or electric, must be at least 10 feet away from combustibles such as deck railings, lawn furniture, lawn equipment, and vehicles. Keep the grill at a safe distance (at least ten feet) away from the home, garage, and any outbuildings.

2. Keep hands and clothing away from the hot coals or burners

Avoid cooking in clothing with flowing, baggy sleeves that may hang precariously close to the flames or heat source of the grill. Long-handled grilling utensils help keep the cook safe during the grilling experience.

3. Stay with a lighted grill at all times

The leading cause of home fires is an unattended dish cooking on the stove. An unattended grill poses no less of a hazard. Children playing near the grill also create a potentially unsafe situation. Curious pets, especially dogs, can tip a grill over in their search for the source of the delicious smells wafting through the air. The aroma of a steak on the grill is one of the many positive features of the grilling experience. For the family and neighborhood dogs, these aromas are overwhelming. According to the veterinary care providers at VCA Animal Hospitals, “Dogs devote lots of brain power to interpreting smells. They have more than 100 million sensory receptor sites in the nasal cavity compared to 6 million in people, and the area of the canine brain devoted to analyzing odors is about 40 times larger than the comparable part of the human brain.”

4. Exercise grill hygiene

A clean grill is a safe grill. The likelihood of flare-ups and food poisoning is greatly reduced. Also, the food tastes better when cooked on a clean grill. Make cleaning the grill a part of the cooking regimen. Remove grease and fat buildup from the drip trays and grill grates.

5. Always grill outside

Gas and charcoal grills should never be used indoors, including in the garage with the door open. Risks include carbon monoxide, a deadly colorless and odorless gas produced during combustion. Also, embers from the grill can ignite a house fire, and smoke from cooking meat on the grill can cause extensive smoke damage. Walls, ceilings, furniture, drapes, and other personal belongings can be damaged or destroyed. Do not be surprised if the insurance company is reluctant to cover fire and smoke damage caused by grilling steaks in the garage.

6. Avoid overloading the grilling space with food

Overloading the grill is dangerous, especially if the food items are high in fat content. The dripping fat can cause flare-ups resulting in personal injury. Too much food to manage also leads to waste. The fire hazard is eliminated by cooking in small, manageable batches.

7. Utilize an accurate meat thermometer.

Meats must reach a food-safe cooking temperature to kill bacteria and to ensure the meat is prepared as desired.

8. Lift the lid before igniting a gas grill

A closed lid traps gas fumes that can ignite in a fireball. The solution is to ignite the grill with the lid open. If the flame should go out, turn all burner knobs to the “off” position and turn the gas off at the tank. Wait five minutes before attempting to relight the grill.

9. Completely shut down the grill when food preparation is completed

Turn all knobs to the “off” position and close the valve to the propane supply. Close the air vents on a charcoal grill. The lack of air will eventually cause the coals to go out. When the coals are cool, dispose of them in a metal container.

10. Do not fire up the grill until the means to put it out are in place

Have an ample supply of baking soda to put out a grease fire. Have a fire extinguisher, a bucket of sand, or a garden hose ready in case of other types of fires. Never spray or splash water on a grease fire.

11. Use only approved charcoal lighter fluid to start a charcoal grill

Typical lighter fluid is highly flammable and flares up when ignited, while charcoal lighter fluid is designed to ignite and spread slowly. The burn rate is much slower than lighter fluid, but the risk of fire hazard is greatly reduced. Excessive use of lighter fluid can add a chemical taste to the food.

12. Perform routine maintenance on all types of grills at least twice a year

Clean the grill thoroughly, if needed, before the inspection. Apply soapy water to the propane hose. Once the lines are opened, look for bubbles on the hose and the valve connections. Make the necessary repairs or replacements to make the system safe.

In case of a fire or water damage disaster, contact the cleanup and restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian. Crews are available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays. A team arrives on the scene in about an hour or so. The rapid response and quick cleanup get life back to normal as soon as possible.

For more information about Venus, TX, water damage restoration services, contact SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian at (972) 935-0827 or acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.

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