Summer time is a time for men to become reconnected with their grill. Yet, how many times has the man of the house doused charcoal with lighter fluid to make it light faster? Flames fly off the grill with him standing inches away. When you think of men’s health, beware that the grilling too can be deceptive and cause serious health injuries.
This favorite American pastime results in more than 7,000 gas grill fires, more than
1,200 charcoal grill fires and around 18,000 hospital visits each year.
Sharmila Dissanaike, M.D., Texas Tech Physicians — Surgery, said burn injuries from grilling are quite common but can be avoided.
“If you are in a rush, many accidents happen. If the Lubbock wind blows out your flame and you attempt to restart a grill the second time without turning off the gas first, the propane or fuel starts to pool. When a person reignites it, an explosion can occur,” Dissanaike said. “One-third of injuries occur when a person is igniting the grill. If you can’t get it lit or re-lit immediately, turn off the fuel and wait 5 minutes before starting it again.”
Dissanaike said to always keep your grill clean, not only because of food safety issues, but also because grease build-up can cause flare-ups and result in fires. Make sure to clean the grill properly and check all of the connections, hoses and tubes. Running soapy water over the hoses can help you detect gas leaks by the presence of bubbles. Worn or rusted connectors should be replaced.
“Maintain your gas grill by keeping it clean and also checking for leaks coming from the hose,” Dissanaike said. “If you smell a leak, turn everything off and have someone check it out. Never use a grill indoors because carbon monoxide poisoning can occur if you are in an enclosed space, especially with charcoal grills.”
Dissanaike also gives these safety warnings:
- Keep children away from hot grills. A quarter of injuries are children who bump into grills.
- If you do not have a fire extinguisher, always have a bucket of sand and some baking soda near by to put out a fire.
- Never throw lighter fluid, gasoline or kerosene on any grill to make it light.
- Never use any grill indoors, and be at least 10 feet away from building structures.
- Use long utensils.
- Make sure your clothing cannot get caught on the grill.
- Check all hoses and connections for leaks or obstructions. Bugs can crawl into pipes, so keep your grill covered when not in use.
“If you grill, know the safety issues that can prevent injuries to you and your family,” Dissanaike said. “An accident can happen so quickly. By taking precautions, you can enjoy a great summer.”