In the summer, we spend a lot of time outdoors which means campfires and cookouts. One weekend you may be roasting s’mores and the next grilling burgers and hot dogs. Regardless of the summer-time activity, it is important to be aware of fire and burn safety. There are 18,000 people rushed to the ER each year for grill-related injuries. Barbecues are a great way to eat tasty food and spend time with family and friends, and being aware of the various safety hazards involved can ensure you’ll have as much fun as possible during your next cook-out.
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- Keep both gas and charcoal grills outside and at least 10 feet away from the house, garage, or shed. It should not be underneath a porch or near any deck railings, decorations, and overhanging branches.
- Clean your grill regularly. Grease and fat buildup can cause unexpected flare-ups.
- If you are using a propane grill, check for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Use a solution of half liquid dish soap and half water, and apply the solution to the hose of the grill. If there is a gas leak, bubbles will form on the hose.
- Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
- When using a charcoal grill, only use charcoal starter fluid. Keep it out of reach of children and away from heat sources. Also, allow the coals to fully cool before disposing of them when you are finished grilling.
- Keep a water spray bottle and fire extinguisher near the grill at all times. A spray bottle can be used to tame small flare ups and won’t ruin your food. A fire extinguisher may be necessary for unmanageable flames. If the fire is too much to handle, call the fire department immediately.
- Do not leave the grill unattended. A fire doubles in size every minute and can cause damage rapidly if not monitored.
- Never start a grill with the lid closed. This causes gas to build up inside the grill, and a fireball explosion can erupt when the lid is opened.
- Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to a fire.
- Do not overload the grill with food. Too much fat dripping down at once can cause a large flare up.
In the unfortunate case that there is a grilling accident, there are safety tips for treating the injury, depending on the severity of the burn. Be sure to first put the fire out and remove hot or burned clothing from the victim.
For first or second-degree burns
- Run cool (not cold) water over the burn
- Apply a sterile, non-adhesive bandage over the burn
- Prevent shock by laying the victim flat and elevating his or her feet. Also, elevate the burn area above the heart and cover the victim with a blanket or coat.
For third-degree burns, call 911 immediately and take the safety steps to prevent shock. Do not apply any butters, creams, or ointments to any burn because it may cause infection.
Because grilling equipment can be dangerous when used incorrectly, it’s important to communicate these do’s and don’ts to family and friends who may be taking the role as head-chef during your next summer barbecue. The dog days of summer are upon us and there’s no better way to squeeze the season for all its worth than a good old-fashioned backyard cookout. With little ones frolicking, music playing and laughter in the air we always want you to keep these safety precautions in mind when throwing your shrimp on the barbie!
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