This coming weekend, most people will be celebrating Memorial Day by grilling in the backyard, traveling, and spending the day swimming with their family and friends. For many, this weekend has become the unofficial kick off to summer, so everyone just wants to relax and have a good time. However, with each of these activities comes certain risks of danger. Did you know many have been set on fire due to poor grilling habits? We have seen and helped many who have been victims of grill fires. Don’t let it happen to you. It is extremely important to stay safe this weekend and to avoid any potential harm to yourself and others.
Grill fires can ignite instantaneously and cause serious injury and even death. Between 2007 and 2011 the US Fire Department responded to an average of 8,800 home and outside fires. On average, these fires caused 140 injuries and 10 deaths. Of the 8,800 fires, 7,400 of them started from a gas grill, and the rest from charcoal or another type of solid-fueled grill.
It’s important to follow these tips to ensure your safety while using a grill:
- Choose the right location: It is extremely important to place your grill in a safe spot away from anything that will catch fire easily. A grill should only be used outside and should be placed AT LEAST two feet away from a deck or patio, pool toys and even low hanging branches or leaves. You also want to keep it away from the area where kids and pets are playing. (Children under age 5 account for 22 percent of burn injuries that involve a grill.)
- Keep the grill clean: Grease and fat will collect and build up over time, potentially encouraging flames to flare. If these flames catch you off guard, they can cause serious burn injuries and even death. It is extremely important to clean out the grill pan before or after using your grill to avoid the possibility of a flare-up.
- Never leave a grill unattended: By keeping a close watch on the grill, you will decrease the chances of an accident.
- Use the correct tools: Long-handled tools are made specifically for grilling. Using these tools keeps you at a safer distance from the grill in case there is some sort of flare-up.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions: Do not assume that all grills are the same. Different brands and models come with unique instructions and restrictions. Follow the directions, and help yourself prevent any accident that could cause serious harm to yourself or your property.
The Home Safety Council reports that fires and burns are the third leading cause of unintentional injuries and related deaths. If an accident does occur it is extremely important to treat the burn no matter how severe.
- Minor burns: Treat any minor burn immediately by running cool water over it (DO NOT place ice directly on a burn to cool it down). Rapid treatment can help prevent any long-term problems. Cover a minor burn loosely with a sterile pad, and do not rip open a blister. This type of burn should heal on its own over time.
- Major or critical burn: If you witness a major burn it is extremely important to call for an ambulance right away. DO NOT apply any type of ointment or lotion to the person’s burns. If you can, cut or rip away any clothing that covers the burns, unless the clothing is stuck to the burn-in which case you should leave it as is, and wait for an ambulance to show up.
Grilling is a big part of summer and its peak months are June and July. It is important to remember these safety tips while grilling, especially during a cookout with friends and family. A grill fire can happen in seconds; keep yourself and your family safe this Memorial Day by staying responsible.