The Jaycee Burn Center of the UNC Medical Center has some safety tips for outdoor grillers on this upcoming Fourth of July weekend.

“Alcohol and fire do not mix, or do not mix well, I should say,” says Outreach Coordinator Ernest Grant of the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center. “So as a result of that, a lot of the people, because they are under the influence, their reaction time is slowed, they are obviously not able to think clearly, and as a result of that, it’s just creating a perfect recipe for an accident to happen.”

That’s Outreach Coordinator Ernest Grant of the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center.

According to the Burn Center, about half of all outdoor-grilling-related house fires were caused by grills that were placed way too close to the home. An overwhelming majority of the fires were caused by gas grills.

Twenty-nine percent of them flamed up on an open porch or exterior balcony. Another 27 percent were started on a patio, terrace or in a courtyard.

People are advised to position grills on steady ground, in an open area away from the house.

And then there’s the obvious question: How often does alcohol play a part in grilling-related house fires?

Grant says he figures it’s about “95 percent of the time.”

Machismo is another factor. We all know that guy – you just can’t tell him anything, including advice about fire safety.

“The majority of individuals who are burned, across-the-board, tend to be male,” says Grant. “And so, sometimes we do factor in, as we do like to say, sometimes, it’s that XY chromosome.”

Grant says the Fourth of July is one of those holidays that the staff at the Jaycee Burn Center braces for every year.

“I’ve been with the Burn Center for 32 years,” says Grant. “And the Fourth of July is one of our busiest days, if not the second-busiest day. I think the first one is usually Thanksgiving Day.”

He adds that fireworks play another role in the high number of burns suffered on The Fourth of July.

Other grilling safety tips offered by the Jaycee Burn Center include:

Establishing a safety zone around the grill, free of kids and pets;

Checking propane hoses for leaks and breaks, and checking charcoal grills pans for holes; and

Getting away from the grill and calling 911 immediately if you smell gas while cooking.

You may also want to avoid wearing loose clothing while cooking. And of course, maybe you shouldn’t drink alcohol at the time, either.