Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center
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Grilling Tips to Keep You Safe This Summer

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.