How Can I Keep My Family Safe Around The Grill This Summer?

Outdoor grilling is as American as apple pie, but it’s also dangerous. “Around 8,800 home fires each year involve grills, hibachis, or barbecues, causing thousands of emergency-room visits and multiple deaths,” says Joseph R. Turkowski, MD, Director of the Regional Burn Center at Westchester Medical Center. Burns, shrapnel injuries from propane tank explosions, and carbon monoxide poisoning can also be life-threatening. Dr. Turkowski advises to “know your grill — keep the instructions handy. Check for leaks, ensure valve connections are intact, and clean grease buildup regularly.” Observing the “10-foot rule” is also important: use your grill at least 10 feet away from not only structures, deck railings and overhanging branches but also any kind of a spray (sunscreen, bug, cooking), as aerosols can create a blowtorch hazard. “Prepare for the worst,” adds Dr. Turkowski, by keeping a garden hose, baking soda and a bucket of sand handy to prevent grill mishaps from becoming grilling tragedies.