Labor Day is a holiday dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers and marks the ‘unofficial end of summer.’ For many of us, it means firing up the grill and barbecuing with friends and family over the three-day holiday weekend.
Grilling comes with its own set of inherent risks, and if not done properly, can result in serious burn injuries. Between 2014 and 2018, an average of 19,700 patients were seen in emergency rooms per year due to injuries sustained while grilling. Approximately half of these injuries were thermal burns from either the fire on the grill or touching a hot object near the grill.
Whether you are grilling hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken, or all of the above, we have some important grilling tips to keep you worry-free and safe while barbecuing this Labor Day weekend.
Make sure your grill is stable.
It is important that your grill is set up on a flat, stable surface. Test out how secure the grill is to ensure that it cannot be easily tipped over as you add items to the grill.
Avoid having children and pets near the grilling area.
An average of 2,000 children under the age of five are injured due to contact burns each year. These burns can easily occur when a child bumps into, touches, or falls on the grill or hot coals within the grill. Never leave the grill unattended while children are present and always use caution while grilling when there are children or pets around. A few seconds of glancing away from the grill is just enough time for a child to reach up and touch the hot surface.
Always grill outdoors and away from any obstructions.
This may seem like an obvious one. However, many fires are reported annually when grills are being operated in a terrace or on a patio. Hanging tree branches and shrubbery can also present a fire hazard if located too close to the hot grill.
Make sure your grill is clean before using it.
Over time, grills can accumulate a lot of fat and grease from the meats being cooked on their surfaces. It is important that you clean your grill regularly. If using a drip tray, be sure to keep this clean as well, and make sure that it is away from your guests to avoid a burn hazard. If cooking with a charcoal grill, make sure the coals are completely cool before disposing of them, but also make sure that the grill cover is securely on if you are stepping away from the grill- particularly if children are present. Hot coals can lead to a serious thermal injury.
Do not move the grill once it is lit.
Along the same lines of never leaving a grill unattended, never move a hot or lit grill. Make sure that it is completely cooled before attempting to move it or clean up. A grill will normally stay hot for at least an hour or two after its use, which is important to keep in mind if pets and young children are around the grilling area.
Remember fire safety at all times.
If using a propane or gas grill, check the tank before turning it on. If the flame goes out during grilling, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least five minutes before relighting it. If using a charcoal grill, be cautious when using charcoal starter fluid. Using too much can lead to a large flame, both dangerous to the griller and those around him or her. Do not wear loose fitting clothing that could easily catch on fire and have the proper fire safety equipment on hand while grilling. Baking soda is an excellent way to put out a grease fire, so keep a box of baking soda nearby, as well as a fire extinguisher for all other fires.
We hope you enjoy the holiday weekend and stay safe as you celebrate! Happy Labor Day from all of us at Wooten, Kimbrough, Damaso & Dennis, P.A.