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Two guys grilling in a park

Flex your grilling skills without getting hurt

It's grilling season-- the perfect time to enjoy delicious barbecue with family and friends. But did you know there are an estimated 8,600 home fires caused by grilling accidents each year? In fact, there are five times more accidents with gas grills compared to charcoal or other solid-fueled grills.

Donald Baker, D.O., medical director of the emergency department at Piedmont Newnan Hospital, says the most common grilling injuries are burns, but it is not just the grill master at risk. He warns that especially at large gatherings, children are easily lured by the fascination of an outdoor grilling device.

“Oftentimes children will receive worse burns from grills due to their lack of experience and knowledge about a grill. They can get severe burns from simply touching any part of a grill — bottom, side or top.”

Dr. Baker warns that grills can be a great fire and health hazard if not properly cleaned or positioned.

“Removing the grease and soot build-up routinely helps prevent possible fires. It’s also important to strategically position a grill away from the house and any combustible decking. Carbon monoxide can be a problem if a grill is place in an enclose space or overhang.”

Here are some other grilling safety tips Dr. Baker recommends to minimize your chance of starting a fire or causing any injuries:

Grilling safety tips  

  • Check gas grills for leaks by brushing soapy water around the joints and the gas hose. Bubbles will indicate a leak.
  • A charcoal starter chimney is the safest way to start a charcoal grill. They keep the hot coals contained until you are ready to cook. They are also inexpensive and can be found at any store where grills are sold.
  • Do not spray lighter fluid on an open flame or on hot coals.
  • Use just enough flame to cook your food.
  • Use hot pads when removing food from the grill.
  • Use utensils with long handles that will keep your forearms within a safe distance from the flames.
  • Do not drink alcohol while grilling. It may impair your judgment.

“The Barbecue Industry Association reports that at least three billion barbecue events take place each year among the 75 million households that have grills. With these figures, there is a lot of grilling going on, but if you don’t play it safe, an unexpected fire can put a damper on any party very quickly,” says Dr. Baker.

For more information on urgent care and emergency services at Piedmont, click here

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