July 10, 2013

Summertime Grilling, Burn Injuries, and What to Do About Them

First Aid, Burns, ASHI, MEDIC First Aid, TrainingIf you're like me, you've been hanging out around the grill lately. At every picnic or outdoor party, the grills, camp stoves, and fire pits tend to be right at the center of the action, and where there's hot, there's a potential for burns.

The U.S. Fire Administration offers some cooking fire safety tips for both indoor and outdoor cooking. Some of their best practices to remember to avoid burn injuries when enjoying your next cookout include:

    • Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play areas, and foot traffic.
    • Keep children and pets away from the grill area. Have a 3-foot "kid-free zone" around the grill.
    • Put out several long-handled grilling tools to give the chef plenty of clearance from heat and flames when cooking food.
    • Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill. 
    • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited, and never use any flammable liquid other than charcoal starter fluid to get the fire going.
    • Dispose of charcoal coals only after they are cool. Empty the coals into a metal container with a tight-fitting lid that is used only to collect coals. Place the container away from anything that can burn. Never empty coals directly into a trash can.

The Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association offers a general grilling safety list with these tips among their many good ideas:

    • Wear clothing that does not have hanging shirt tails, frills, or apron strings that can catch fire, and use flame-retardant mitts when adjusting hot vents.
    • Never leave a grill unattended once lit
    • Don’t allow anyone to conduct activity near the grill when in use or immediately following its use. The grill body remains hot up to an hour after being used.
    • Never attempt to move a hot grill. It’s easy to stumble or drop it and serious burns could result.
Watch the Video below to learn more about burns:

Despite our best precautions, burns from outdoor cooking do occur. Minor burns include those that involve the outer layer of the skin and result in redness and pain. These include small burns that extend into the deeper layers of the skin and cause some blistering. Deep burns over a large area of the body are the most severe. These burns often result in extensive blistering and destruction of skin tissue.



If you encounter a burn incident:

    • Rapid first aid treatment for minor burns can provide immediate comfort and help prevent longterm complications. Cool the burn with cool water as soon as possible. Continue cooling until the pain is relieved. This will reduce pain, swelling, and the depth of injury. Do not apply ice directly to cool a burn.
    • Leave any blisters intact. Cover the burn with a loose sterile pad. Minor burns usually heal without further treatment.
    • For a critical burn injury, make sure the situation is safe for you to help. Activate EMS immediately. Expose the affected area by cutting or tearing away clothing. If any clothing is stuck to the burn, do not remove it. If present, remove any jewelry near the burned area.
    • Separate fingers or toes with dry, sterile, non-adhesive dressings. Do not apply butter, ointment, lotion, or antiseptic. Loosely cover the burn area with a dry, clean pad or clean sheet, if the burned area is large.
    • Give the person nothing to eat or drink. While awaiting EMS, monitor the airway for swelling from inhalation of smoke or hot gases.

Wishing you a safe, burn-free grill season!

Find A Class, ASHI, MEDIC First Aid


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