Few activities epitomize summer as much as grilling. Unfortunately, it’s
all too easy to wind up in the
emergency care department because of burn injuries caused by grilling. You may already know that
it’s important to keep kids and pets away from a hot grill and that
you should never add flammable fluids to a fire. But do you know why grease
can be hazardous or why you should marinate before instead of during grilling?
Read on to learn everything you need to know to have a safe summer cookout
with your backyard grill.
Setting Up Your Workstation
Even if you set up your grill in the same spot every year, you’ll
need to take a look around before igniting the charcoal. Check whether
any tree branches have encroached over the space; if so, you’ll
need to move your grill or get out your pruning shears. Position your
grill on a level, firm surface away from the house, deck railings, or
other structures. If you have a propane grill, check the connectors and
tighten them if need be. Remember to open the lid of a gas grill before
igniting it. Additionally, keep a fire extinguisher handy and know how
to use it.
Preventing Burn Injuries
Before igniting your grill, make sure it’s free of grease and other
buildups. This applies to the tray beneath the grill, too. Accumulations
of grease or fat can
increase your risk of burn injuries. Remember to keep kids and pets far away from your cooking area. While
you’re grilling, it’s best not to wear long sleeves or loose
clothing that might catch on fire.
Grilling for Good Health
There is no definitive proof that grilling fatty meats can increase your
risk of cancer, but it is known that heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic
aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are produced when meats are cooked at high
temperatures. It is thought that these compounds may be carcinogenic,
but the evidence is lacking. Still, it is healthier to grill plant-based
foods or to trim the fat from meats when you grill. You can also marinate
before—rather than during—grilling to minimize HCA formation.
For more helpful tips on healthy grilling this summer, browse the
food safety articles available on the website of Southern Hills Hospital. Our community
hospital provides advanced medical services for Las Vegas-area families,
including maternity care, stroke care, emergency care, and orthopedic
surgery. Please call 911 or visit our ER if you sustain serious burn injuries
while grilling; non-emergent inquiries may be directed to a registered
nurse at (702) 880-2700.