During the summer months many Americans celebrate with barbeques, camping trips, family reunions, Fourth of July fireworks displays and other outdoor celebrations. But many of these activities involve fire, and not taking the proper safety precautions can result in serious injuries or death.
These fire safety tips from the U.S. Fire Administration (www.usfa.fema.gov) and the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (www.cpsc.gov) will help you recognize and avoid fire-related dangers and help you and your loved ones have a safe summer.
- Check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line before using a grill. Make sure the tubes where the air and gas mix are not blocked.
- Do not overfill the propane tank.
- Do not wear loose clothing while cooking at a barbecue.
- Make sure everyone knows to Stop, Drop and Roll in case a piece of clothing does catch fire.
- Be careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire because the flames can flash back up into the container and explode.
- Supervise children closely around outdoor grills. Keep matches and lighters away from them, and teach them to immediately report loose matches or lighters to an adult.
- Never grill or barbecue in enclosed areas as carbon monoxide could be produced.
- Place your grill a safe distance away from any flammable surfaces such as wooden fences or decks or buildings with wood or vinyl siding or shingles.
- When you’re finished cooking, dispose of the hot coals properly by dousing them with plenty of water, and stirring them to ensure that the fire is out. Never place coals or ashes in plastic, paper or wooden containers.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (www.nfpa.org), 9,600 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2011, and an estimated 17,800 reported fires were started by fireworks.
The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission recommends the following fireworks safety tips:
- Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Keep a bucket of water, garden hose or fire extinguisher handy in case of fire.
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying our using them.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
- Build campfires in an open area away from dry grass and leaves, so wind-borne embers can’t spread.
- Keep campfires small; don’t let them get out of hand.
- Keep plenty of water and a shovel around to douse the fire when you’re done. Stir it and douse it again with water.
- Never leave campfires unattended.
Article reprinted with permission from the NAHB