Using the grill? Tips for avoiding or treating burns

Posted at 1:05 PM, Jul 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-04 14:05:04-04

The Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association says July 4th is the biggest grilling day of the year. 

And according to the National Retail Foundation, last year Americans spent more than $7 billion on hot dogs, burgers and the like.

If you’re going to grill today, don’t forget to clean the grill before cooking, keep it away from your home and make sure to never leave the grill unattended. 

The National Fire Protection Agency says July is the peak month for burn injuries, so just use common sense. 

Dr. Joey Barrios, Director of Our Lady of Lourdes Burn Unit, says the most common burn he sees around this time of year is caused by hot coals discarded after a barbecue. 

If someone gets burned, cool water is the first step in treatment. 

"Cool running water for 10 to 15 minutes and a clean dressing," Barrios advises. "Most of the time, the young kids, it doesn’t take much to burn, turn red and blister. You need to seek medical attention at a local emergency room or walk in clinic."

Here are some safety tips from the National Fire Protection Agency: 

Before you use your grill:

  • Check the major connection points between the gas (propane) tank hose and the regulator and cylinder, and where the hose connects to the burners. Tighten if loose.
  • Check the gas (propane) tank hose for the potential (gas) leaks. To do that:
  • Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose using a brush or spray bottle.
  • Turn the propane tank on. If there is a gas leak, the propane will release bubbles around the hose (big enough to see).
  • If there are no bubbles, your grill is safe to use.
  • If there are bubbles, turn off the tank and check connections, then have your grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
  • If the leak doesn’t stop, call the fire department immediately.

When the grill is on:

  • As you are cooking, if you smell gas, turn off the gas tank and burners.
  • If the leak stops immediately, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
  • If the smell continues, move away from the grill and call the fire department immediately. Do not move the grill.

Charcoal grills

  • There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
  • If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
  • When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.