The Chicago weather has been heating up to ring in the month of June and there’s no doubt the city saw its fair share of grill-outs over the Memorial Day weekend. After all, nothing signals the start of summer quite like the scent of grilled burgers, hot dogs and veggies wafting through backyards. But the good eats come at the risk of tragedy if you don’t mind your grill safety.
Believe us, when a hot summer afternoon rolls around, the professionals at ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons love outdoor cookouts as much as anyone else. But what we don’t love as much is the increase in fire and smoke damage calls we receive after big grilling days, especially since most fires caused by grills can be avoided by following a few key safety tips. Here’s the low-down on the steps you should be following to make sure food is the only thing your grill chars:
Exercise good grilling habits
Set your grill up a safe distance away from other objects. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve been called on a job that involved grill flames consuming sides of houses because the grill was too close! Also watch out for overhangs, sheds, garages and other potentially flammable items.
Never use your grill inside, in a tent, or under an outdoor awning. Not only does this cause fires, but it also puts you at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning if you have a gas grill.
Avoid getting burned by lighting your grill using special long-length matches or lighters.
This goes without saying, but never leave an actively burning grill unattended. Make sure to let your grill cool completely before covering or storing it.
Clean your grill thoroughly to reduce flammable buildup inside.
Understand the intricacies of charcoal grills if you use one
Be careful not to overuse the charcoal — you should add only enough to cover the bottom of the grill. If you use too much, it could cause ashes and sparks to become airborne.
Use care when storing your extra charcoal. We recommend keeping it in an airtight metal container, far away from sources of flame.
Buy starter fluid specifically meant for charcoal, and only apply it to cold coals. Don’t add extra fluid once the grill is actively burning to mitigate the risk of high flames and uncontained fire.
Don’t clean the grill or empty your ashes until they have fully cooled. When you dispose of them, we suggest dumping them on garden soil. Avoid storing or disposing of them in a garbage can or, worse, leaving them on your deck. Ashes can still cause a fire, even after they’ve cooled.
Be smart when using a gas grill
Open the lid before lighting the grill to allow oxygen to escape and limit the risk of fire or explosion.
Regularly inspect your grill’s gas line and tank fittings for leaks by brushing soapy water around those areas. If you see bubbles emerge, there could be a leak somewhere and you’ll need to replace any faulty parts before using the grill.
Never store spare gas cylinders under a stairway in your home. Instead, keep them upright and outside, at a safe distance away from other structures.
When you turn off your grill, use the controls first and then close off the gas line at the tank. This will ensure that excess gas escapes safely.
Summer afternoons are meant for cookouts, family and fun — not fire tragedies. Follow our grill safety tips to keep your home safe this summer, but if the unthinkable does happen, know that you can always count on the professionals at ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons for all your fire damage restoration needs. Feel free to give us a call at 773-376-1110 with any questions or concerns! We are standing by for you and your family this grilling season.
ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is a MBE/WBE certified minority and women-owned and family run company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. The business provides disaster restoration services for damages caused by tornadoes, water, fire, flooding, mold remediation, and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning (hoarder/clutter, post construction, carpet & upholstery) to residential and commercial customers residing in Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest and the North Shore. For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visit servicemasterbysimons.com.
As Managing Director of ServiceMaster by Simons, Sam has over 20 years of experience in the disaster restoration industry. Sam holds the cleaning industry's highest technical designation as an IICRC Master Water Restorer and Master Fire Restorer and has many more designations. His vast knowledge of "best practices" in the Water & Fire Damage Restoration industry makes him an invaluable resource to this company and to the clients he serves.