SIDNEY — Today is National Hot Dog Day. And what’s better than eating a hot dog? Grilling one and loading it with mustard, ketchup and other condiments.
“Seven in 10 people have a grill,” said Shelby County John Lenhart during his weekly phone interview. “Hot dogs and hamburgers are the No. 1 things to grill on them. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, 7 billion hot dogs are eaten in America.”
And while Americans love to grill out, there are dangers associated with the summer activity.
“Some 5,000 people are injured each year do to a fire on your grill or barbecue,” said Lenhart. “Five hundred people die of their injuries.”
Many injuries, said Lenhart, happen when the flame flares up and catches a piece of clothing on fire.
“Twenty-four percent of those injuries are caused by a fire from a gas leak on a propane tank,” said Lenhart.
He said people age 65 and older are “two times more likely to get hurt from a fire on a grill.”
In other to have a safe grilling season, Lenhart has offered grillers several tips they should follow.
“Always put your grill outside and away from structures,” said Lenhart. This also includes balconies and other small structures.
Other tips include:
• Make sure the grill is on stable ground and doesn’t move when you put something on it.
• Keep the grill clean. “You can get flare ups from the grease on the grill,” said Lenhart.
• If the flame goes out, don’t try to start it right away again. Don’t put lighter fluid on it as it can cause a flash fire “which can come back and hurt you.”
• If using a charcoal grill, use a chimney with it. In the bottom of the chimney, place papers and light it. “This saves on fuel and gets the job done,” he said.
• Keep kids and pets away from the grill. “They don’t always understand there’s a danger of being too close to the grill.
• Wear the right clothing. Don’t wear clothing such as something with shirt tails or ties from an apron that can get too close to the fire and begin to burn.
• Have a fire extinguisher or water on hand to put the fire out.
And a couple of closing ‘did you knows’ from the sheriff.
“In 1860, New York vendors started selling hot dogs for the first time,” said Lenhart. “And in 1893, the St. Louis Browns was the first team to put hot dogs in the stadium.”
The writer conducts a weekly interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.