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Your Healthy Family: Fire pit safety

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As we edge closer to fall, those crisp Colorado nights are a perfect time to cozy up with an outdoor fire pit.  

Dr. Ian Tullberg, the Urgent Care Medical Director with UCHealth Memorial wants to remind everyone, fire pits and grills for that matter, should be used with caution to make sure you don’t end up with a burn injury, and it all begins with getting them lit properly.  Dr. Tullberg says "you get that pilot light going and you’re trying to turn on the gas and you’re getting down there looking at it to see if it's lighting or not, and that's when things can literally blow up in your face."

If you’re using a wood burning fire pit or a charcoal grill, resist using gasoline, kerosene or copious amounts of lighter fluid to get it started.  Once you do get the fire going, never leave it unattended and always put it out properly when you’re done.

Dr. Tullberg was reminded of this lesson first hand and says "my 9 year old told me 'hey that is too dangerous to leave', because we were roasting marshmallows and she said you can't leave it, it's too dangerous.’ So make sure to get some water and put it fully out. It can burn down the house, or it can cause other burns.  If you breath in the ash that may still be hot long after the flames are out, that can cause some significant burns internally.”

And it comes to burns how do you know if you’re burned badly enough to seek medical treatment?  Dr. Tullberg suggests "Blistering is a huge (sign) one, if it blisters especially with that type of burn it will pop right away.  So if you have blistering if you have burns on the palms of your hands or your face it's a great idea to get in and be seen.  Sometimes burns can go up into the nose and cause some problems, not immediately but shortly after.”

For minor burns Doctor Tullberg recommends running it under cold water for about 15 minutes to reduce swelling and pain.

As we head into those cool fall nights, here's to safe and enjoyable evening by the fire pit.

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