Okay, so the first two are reference to a line by Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, but when it comes to grill fires, I'm a lot hotter than Julie Roberts ever wants to be.
July 4th, and we are doing the all-American grilling, baby. Thankfully I was the one grilling the steaks for supper, not WonderBoy. It started fine, but when I opened the lid to flip the steaks, the fire came out of the whole thing. I'm an experienced griller, but I've never experienced anything like that. Seems the steaks were a bit more marbled than the grill could cope with, and it got a bit hot under the lid. :-)
I don't usually do these kind of posts, but this is important. And before you decide you know this and don't need to read it, does everyone you are responsible for (kids, spouse, youth group, etc.) know how to do this? If not, make sure they do. Chances are they will never need it, but in the one case they do...
First thing...kill the gas. I turned off all the nobs. That didn't kill the fire.
Close the lid. The idea is to kill the oxygen source, but my fire was already raging with the lid down in the first place, so it did no good.
Turn the gas off at the tank. Some might say do it first and forget the nobs. I've had fires get a bit over excited before and simply turning off the flames fixed it. At this point, I thought I might have a gas leak, so I turned the whole thing off. The fire didn't change.
Get baking soda. Baking soda is perfect for a grease or oil fire. Get a big box! This did slow the fire, but it was still popping up under the bottom of the gas pipes.
I pulled the gas. And prayed for God to hold that fire. The truth is at that point, I didn't know how much fire was roaming under the bottom grate. All I knew was if the gas stayed, I ran the risk of a really good size explosion, so I pulled the gas tank.
Fire extinguisher. The fire was still coming from under the lid and out of the bottom, and all my brain could think was PASS.
Pull (the pin)
Aim (the nozzle)
Squeeze (the trigger)
Sweep (back and forth)
Please note this extinguisher is not the typical red one. This one is specifically for kitchens. I'm not the fire expert, so I won't give you all the chemical information, but a regular fire extinguisher will not handle a grease fire.
NO WATER!!!! Grease/oil and water don't mix. EVER. Inside or out.
When do you call 911?
I've been trained to call 911 when the fire is bigger than a trashcan.
This time, following simple home fire response protocol worked, but I was already mentally preparing to call in backup. In a normal July when we are dry and crispy by this time of year, I would have called in reinforcements. I would have had someone hosing down the grass, someone watching for sparks, and maybe even someone on the phone to 911.
My kids think I'm amazing. I had to tell them the truth. I'm not amazing. I'm just trained.
Using the Extinguisher
I trained with Bedford CERT five years ago, and one of the drills they do for each group is putting out a fire. I've practiced. You and your family can practice, too. Fire Extinguishers are cheap. Get one and figure out how it works before you need it. Use it in the backyard away from the critters. Do your PASS (Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep). A big thing, figure out what it takes to actually make it shoot. I did the Squeeze part, and it didn't do anything. I had pulled the pin, so...? I tried something else. Didn't work. It was my third try before I figured out how to squeeze the two pieces of the trigger to make it work. Honestly, I'm not sure my kids have the life experience to have figured that out on their own, and they shouldn't have to at this point. At this point, they live in my house. Making sure they can use devices meant to protect them is my job. I will be checking the rest of the extinguishers before I go to bed tonight, and the WonderPeeps will get the updated information.
Oh! And don't try to reuse an extinguisher. Once you use it, toss it. I'm taking mine to the fire department next week so they can dispose of it as necessary.
I hope you never ever need this information, but just in case you do....
Y'all stay safe!