Be aware of summer burn hazards

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Summer is an especially busy time for the region’s only nationally verified Level I Trauma Center. Seasonal burn hazards include more than fireworks and sunburn, warn the professionals at the Gene and Barbara Burnett Burn Center at The University of Kansas Hospital.

Grills and fire pits are just as dangerous – especially when people carelessly use gasoline or similar accelerants.

“What most people don’t realize about gasoline is that the vapor is tremendously flammable,” said Richard Korentager, MD, chair, plastic surgery and burns.

Campfires and brushfires add to the danger. So whether you’re grilling burgers or roasting marshmallows, a bit of prevention goes a long way.

Tips for using a barbecue grill

  • Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
  • Have at least a 3-foot “no-zone” around the grill for children and pets.
  • Make sure coals are completely extinguished and cooled before disposal.
  • Never use gasoline or kerosene to make the grill fire bigger. 
  • Never apply lighter fluid to hot or warm coals.
  • Make sure the grill is outdoors, away from houses, garages or decks.
  • Use insulated, fire-retardant mitts and long-handled tools.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

Tips for campfires and fire pits

  • Build campfires in a designated fire pit, and never leave the fire unattended.
  • Supervise children and pets at all times around a campfire.
  • Establish at least a 5-foot “no zone” around the campfire.
  • Remember that coals and embers can remain hot enough to burn you after many hours, especially if they’re buried.