CareNow® - July 21, 2022

When to go to urgent care for a grilling or bonfire injury

There are few things more enjoyable than grilling out or gathering around a bonfire on a warm summer night. Unfortunately, over the past 10 years, the number of people who required treatment for grilling-related injuries increased by 18% to 21,427 in 2021. Bonfires, or even backyard fire pits, are also responsible for a number of burns and other serious injuries.

So how do you keep your family safe this summer? Following these fire and grilling safety tips is a great place to start. Make sure to communicate these tips to your family and friends who will be nearby as well.

How to light a gas grill safely

Gas grill safety is crucial if you plan to cook on this type of grill. Many people like the way an outdoor gas grill cooks their food, but get nervous at the thought of using a propane gas can. If you know the proper way to light a grill, however, you can do so easily and safely.

When lighting a gas grill, it’s crucial that you double-check that the lid is open. To get the flow of gas going, you’ll also want to open the valve on the top of the gas cylinder. If your grill has additional gas lines, check that those are open as well.

As soon as you hear the gas flowing, turn the igniter until you hear a very faint whooshing sound. This signals that your gas is lit and you’re ready to go.

After you hear the ignition, place your hand directly over the surface of the grill to make sure that the heat is rising. If you don’t feel any heat, turn off the grill’s ignition and gas immediately. Before you try to light it again, be sure to let any gas that’s built up dissipate.

How to use charcoal grill safely

Charcoal grills are another great outdoor cooking option, but you’ll also want to brush up on your charcoal grill safety before you dive in. Charcoal grills typically take some time and attention, but the end result is delicious. Before you begin using a charcoal grill, you’ll want to be sure you’ve got enough charcoal on hand. Charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal both work well with this type of grill.

Once you’ve made sure you’re set on supplies, you’ll want to remove the grilling grate and get rid of any remaining ash from the previous use. Open up the grill vents so that there’s plenty of air to fuel the fire.

Make sure the lid stays off the grill after you’ve lit the coals on fire. As soon as you notice they are covered in ash and ready for cooking (typically about 10-15 minutes later), you can get started grilling.

How to prevent grill injuries

Whether you use an outdoor gas grill or charcoal grill, there are certain things you can do to help prevent injuries. These safety tips will keep you safe this summer while you enjoy delicious meals with your family.

Think about your grill location

Where you place your grill is extremely important. While you may be tempted to use it indoors, doing so can be harmful as it can create carbon monoxide. It’s best to place your grill at least 10 feet from your house, avoiding overhangs, lawn decor, and nearby trees. Always opt for a flat, level surface as well.

Keep your grill clean

To avoid grease and other buildup that may cause flare-ups, you should clean your grill each time you use it. The best way to clean your grill is to get it hot, then scrub any residue off with a clean wire-bristled brush.

Have an extinguisher nearby

If you’re grilling or dealing with fire at all, you should always be prepared to put it out. A fire extinguisher is usually your best bet — although you’ll want to be sure you know how to use it. Grease fires can also be put out with baking soda if needed.

Don’t walk away from the grill

This may sound like an obvious safety tip, but if you’re using your grill, you should never leave it unattended. If you’re not watching the grill, you could easily start a big fire or run the risk of a child or pet getting burned.

Tips for staying safe around a bonfire

If you’re planning to enjoy a bonfire this summer, there are certain recommendations to follow proper bonfire safety protocols. These bonfire safety tips will help you make sure your fire doesn’t get out of control.

Before you get started, always check the weather. If high wind is in the forecast, it may be better to wait until another night. Heavy winds can cause sparks from the flame to spread.

Never burn chemicals like paint, aerosols, or foam. Not only are these extremely flammable, able to explode at any time, but they can also produce toxic fumes that are harmful to breathe in.

As you would with a grill, you should also keep a bucket of water or garden hose within reach in case of emergency. Keeping your pile no bigger than 5 feet x 5 feet will also help keep the flames contained.

Whenever you’re done with the bonfire, use metal shovels or rakes to flip over the charred materials and wood. As the fire gets smaller and smaller, you can start dousing the area with water to help it go out more quickly.

What to do if you get burned by a grill

Should you end up with a burn that appears serious from either a grill or a fire, seek medical attention immediately. At the very least, the burn should be properly cleaned and treated so you have the best chance of a full recovery. A provider will advise you to stay hydrated during treatment.

If you have a minor burn and exhibit any of the following symptoms, you will also want to see a provider:

  • Fever
  • Blistering filled with greenish or brownish fluid
  • Pus
  • Excessive swelling
  • Foul-smelling drainage
  • Lack of healing within 10 days

To get your burn properly treated, consider visiting your local CareNow urgent care clinic. We have more than 175 locations throughout the country, each open after hours and on the weekends, so you can get the care you need when you need it most.

At CareNow®, we’ve also earned the distinction of Accredited Urgent Care Center from our industry’s association, Urgent Care Association (UCA).

Before your visit, be sure to utilize our Web Check-In® feature so you can wait from home while waiting to be called in for your visit!

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