• By Deb Balzer

Mayo Clinic Minute: Fireworks and grilling safety reminders

July 1, 2021

Fireworks, grilling and campfires are part of the summer experience. This holiday weekend, make sure you keep safety top of mind.

Dr. Michael Boniface, a Mayo Clinic emergency medicine physician, explains that burn injuries from these activities go up in the summer, and these injuries often can be prevented.

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Sparklers can be fun, exciting and dangerous. That's why it's important to handle them with care. Dr. Boniface says he sees an uptick in summer injuries.

And what about grilling, another summer favorite?

"We do see things like burns from fireworks or grills, or campfires," Dr. Boniface says.

Along with the risk of burns, grills can produce potentially toxic exhaust gases as well as smoke that can irritate the lungs.

"Never operate a grill ― whether it's propane or charcoal ― inside or in poorly ventilated spaces."

Ready to grill? 

Before you light that match, consider using an alternative to lighter fluid like a chimney starter. Dr. Boniface suggests trying an electric starter, which will gradually bring the grill to temperature over time.

And if you choose to use lighter fluid to start your charcoal grill?

"Be very judicious in how much you apply and maintain a safe distance when you're lighting it," says Dr. Boniface.


For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was either recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in a nonpatient care area or where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.