What to Do if Your BBQ Sets Fire

July 21 2022

Summer is the perfect time to relax in the garden, soak up the sun, and enjoy the warm weather around a family BBQ. Unfortunately, this does mean there’s a greater chance of a BBQ related accident occurring. So, to keep you safe this summer, we reveal some helpful tips and advice on how to deal with BBQ fires.

What causes BBQ fires?

There are a number of ways that can cause your BBQ to set on fire. One way is when oil or fat from foods, like chicken or beef, falls onto the charcoal below. When this happens, the combination of vaporised grease and boiling temperatures ignites a flame, creating a flare-up. If this isn’t contained, the fire can intensify.

BBQ fire safety tips

Here are a few safety precautions you can take in the event of a BBQ fire:

Never use water

Contrary to popular belief, using water to put out a BBQ fire only makes the situation worse. When you apply water to a grill, it causes drops of burning oil to disperse, putting you in danger of being burned. Water also damages your grill’s porcelain enamel finish and can be a costly repair. 

Turn off the grill burners

Safely switch off your BBQ burners by turning the knobs off at the grill. To do this, you may need to wear protective gloves. Once you’ve done that, try to extinguish the flames by throwing baking soda or sand directly over the area on fire.

Close the lid

Oxygen is what fuels fires, so to prevent the fire from spreading using a gas barbecue, close the lid as well as any vents to starve the fire of oxygen. As mentioned earlier, you should do this when it’s safe to do so and if you’re wearing heat resistant gloves.

Alternatively, for a charcoal barbecue, you should suffocate the flames by either closing your barbecue’s lid or shutting the vents (underneath or above). Ensure you wait 48 hours for the barbecue to cool down, then douse the coals in cold water. Once you’re happy the barbecue is cold, you can then wrap the coal in aluminium foil and dispose of it in your residual waste bin.

It’s worth noting that if your charcoal barbecue doesn’t have a lid or you’re cooking over a fire pit, then the safest method is to completely open the grill air vents and allow the coal to burn to ash. As always, make sure children and pets do not touch the barbecue at any time, and are kept a safe distance from it. 

Call the fire brigade

Depending on the extent of the fire, you may need to call your local fire and rescue service for assistance. For instance, if the gas tank has become part of the fire, then you should evacuate the area immediately, call the fire brigade, and wait for their arrival.

You should also call the fire brigade if the fire’s intensity increases and you’re unable to contain the flames.

Avoid usage in tents

This is common mistake that campers make while trying to stay warm when temperatures drop. A gas, coal, disposable, and any other form of barbecue should never be used inside a tent, as there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Barbecues should only ever be used outside in a ventilated area and never inside structures like a camper van, caravan, or tent (regardless of size). 

 

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