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Preventing Burn Injuries at Summer BBQs


Warmer weather means it’s time to break out the grill. Before you fire up your barbeque, you should review some safety tips to avoid burns and other grill-related injuries. After all, a trip to the E.R. shouldn’t be a part of anyone’s summer plans. Here are some tips to help you ensure that your cookout is as safe as it is fun.

Prepare Your Grill

Has your barbeque been sitting around all winter? It’s time to shake off the cobwebs and give it a thorough once over to make sure that it’s still in good shape. Clean off any built-up grime and food remnants, as well as any debris. You may wish to hose off or wipe down your grill to clean off any dirt that’s accumulated.

If you have a gas grill, check the burners to make sure they’re free of debris and build up. You may need to also check your gas lines for any blockages that could cause your grill to malfunction. It’s also important to check and empty your grease trap. Moving on with your inspection, check all gas line fittings and valves for signs of wear or damage, and replace them if they aren’t in good shape. You’ll also need to check your gas lines for leaks, since lines can become damaged when your grill is in storage. To check them, wither each one down with soapy water, watching for the formation of bubbles. If you notice bubbles, the line has a leak and will need to be replaced. Finally, the last thing to check is your fuel tank. If your tank is rusted or damaged, get it replaced. You also should check your fuel levels to make sure you have enough to grill your steaks before you invite over the neighbors.

Charcoal grills are a little lower-maintenance, but that doesn’t mean you can skip the cleaning part, either. Charcoal grills tend to develop a buildup of ashes and unburned briquettes. Scrape and empty your grill and the ash catcher before you get started. You also may need to give it a good scrub to clean up any old food residue.

Choose Your Grilling Spot

Now that your grill is cleaned and ready to cook, it’s time to set it up. Choosing the right spot for your grill is important, since it can contribute greatly to the safety of your grilling. Look for a level place on dirt, pavement, or other non-flammable surfaces. It should be a place away from flammable materials and structures. It can be tempting to grill under cover, but it is possible for hot sparks to escape or fumes to build up underneath a shade structure. You can, however, look for a spot that is shaded but clear of flammable structures or trees. It’s also important to make sure that your grill isn’t in a high-traffic area, such as a walkway, and to keep children and pets out of the grilling area.

Starting Up Your Grill

Ready to get started? It’s time to safely fire up your grill. If you have a gas grill, you should always light it quickly after turning on the gas to avoid a buildup of fumes. Leave the lid open when you’re turning on the gas. If it doesn’t ignite the first try, turn off the gas and leave the lid open for a few minutes to let any fumes dissipate. If fumes build up, it can cause an explosion. If you still cannot light your grill after the second or third try, you may need fuel or there may be a blockage or other issue preventing your grill from igniting. You may need to turn off the gas again and check for other issues.

If you are lighting a charcoal grill, always use lighter fluid carefully. This means use it sparingly when lighting your grill, keep it capped and stored away from the grill after lighting it, and never using lighter fluid with hot coals. Use only lighter fluid meant for grilling, and never use kerosene or gasoline to start your grill.

Now that your grill is started, it’s time to enjoy! Just remember to never leave your grill unattended while it is lit. Once you’re done, wait for it to completely cool before cleaning it or moving it.

Our team of Dunedin personal injury attorneys is committed to helping our clients and community enjoy a safer summer. Many accidents are preventable with proper care, but if someone’s negligence led to an injury, we may be able to help! Schedule a consultation with the Paulsen Law Group to discuss your case and learn about your legal options.

Contact our offices by calling (727) 270-8260.

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