Tips for Safe Summer Grilling

Three safety tips to keep in mind while grilling this summer

(RxWiki News) As you prepare for summer and all the activities that come with it, it's important to know the potential dangers associated with grilling.

According to National Fire Protection Association estimates, on average, grills start 10,200 home fires each year. And half of the injuries tied to grills involve thermal burns. To avoid these burns and other risks, check out the tips below.

1) Grill Safety Tips

  • Place the grill away from the home, including any deck railings and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
  • Do not leave the grill unattended.

According to National Fire Protection Association, 1 in 5 grill fires happens because the grill has not been cleaned. Be sure to keep your grill clean by removing grease and fat buildup.

As you clean your grill, however, keep in mind that a 2016 report found that many injuries are tied to wire-bristle grill brushes each year.

The reason behind the injuries associated with wire-bristle brushes? When you're cleaning the grill, loose bristles can fall off of the brush and end up in the food. If ingested, these bristles can cause harm to the oral cavity, throat and tonsils, as well as lead to damage of the esophagus, stomach or intestines if they bypass the oral cavity.

2) Propane Grills

If you're using a propane grill, be sure to check the gas (propane) tank hose for potential gas leaks.

You can determine whether there is a gas leak in two ways. First, apply a light soap-and-water solution to the hose. Turn the propane tank on. The propane will release bubbles around the hose if there is a gas leak. You can also check for a gas leak by the smell of gas.

If your grill does have a gas leak (by smell or the soapy bubble test) and there is no flame, be sure to turn off both the gas tank and the grill.

If there are no bubbles or smell of gas, then the grill is likely safe to use.

If you identify a gas leak that stops, the National Fire Protection Association recommends getting the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.

Call the fire department immediately if the leak does not stop. If you smell gas while cooking, immediately move away from the grill and call the fire department.

3) Charcoal Grills

If you are using a charcoal grill, be mindful of the following:

  • If you will use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Do not add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to a fire that is already going.
  • When you are finished using the grill, let the coals completely cool before you discard them. Discard used coals in a metal container.
  • Be sure to keep charcoal starter fluid out of the reach of children.

Written by Anyssa Garza, PharmD, BCMAS