Whether you are new to grilling or a seasoned grill master, accidents can happen. A simple mistake or oversight could cause a serious fire or explosion. Every year, an average of 10,200 home fires, 160 injuries and 10 deaths involve home grills, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Before the grilling season ends in Texas, learn a few important safety rules and best practices. Keeping these tips in mind could prevent you from suffering a catastrophic burn injury in a home grill fire.
Keep a reasonable distance between a charcoal or propane grill and your home. About one-fourth of grill-related home fires in 2017 started on outdoor porches or balconies attached to the house. Avoid grilling indoors, on a patio or close to your house. Your grill should be well away from your home and not under any eaves or low-hanging tree branches. This could help you prevent dangerous house fires.
Many burn injury victims are children. Children often do not understand the dangers of hot objects such as open fires or grill tops. They may touch hot grills and suffer serious burns, or play with the dials and cause a fire. Teach children to stay at least three feet away from a grill while cooking. Never leave your grill unattended, especially if you have children in the house. It may be too late to stop the spread of a fire or prevent a burn injury if you are not there to quickly intervene. Keep pets at a safe distance from a grill or fire pit as well.
If you cook on a gas grill, take extra caution to avoid a dangerous gas leak. Check your gas tank hose regularly for breaks, damage or leaks. Wash the hose with soap and water and look for bubbles for evidence of a leak. Hire a professional grill servicer to repair a leak or to inspect your grill if you cannot get it to light. Stay alert for the smell of gas while cooking. Open the gas grill lid before lighting the grill to avoid a buildup of dangerous gas. If you smell gas, move far away from your grill and call the fire department. Double-check you turned the gas off when you finish cooking.
Many burn injuries are preventable with the right grilling tools. Using fire gloves, a good lighter, Kevlar sleeves, an apron with pockets and other safety equipment could help you avoid a painful burn injury. Make sure you have everything you need near your grill before you start cooking so you do not have to leave your grill unattended.
If you do suffer a minor burn injury while grilling at home, run room temperature or slightly cooler water on the area until it helps with the pain. If you are wearing rings, a watch or tight jewelry, remove it so the burned area can swell freely. Do not pop blisters that form over a burn injury, as this could invite infection. Apply special cooling lotions or antibiotic ointments to the area, and then wrap it loosely in a sterile gauze bandage until it heals. Take a light pain reliever if you need to after a grill-related burn injury.
A grill-related injury may demand emergency medical intervention if your skin appears dry, charred, white, brown/black or leathery. You may have a third-degree burn. If you have a burn injury that spans over more than three inches of your body, see a doctor for professional treatment. Burns in sensitive areas such as your face or hands also deserve medical attention. Professional treatment may include intravenous fluids, antibiotics, debriding, skin grafts and a hospital stay. Grill injuries can be serious. Do your best to grill safely, no matter how many times you have cooked over an open fire.