Summertime fire safety tips
Fire safety may not be at the forefront of your mind as you're grilling burgers or shopping for fireworks this summer.
Sure, you may be aware that grills and fireworks pose threats, but you may be surprised at just how often simple mistakes lead to devastating fires that result in death, injury and property damage.
Below are some eye-opening facts about how often fires occur as well as essential fire safety tips that you should keep in mind and share with your friends and family.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, "In 2010, fireworks caused an estimated 15,500 reported fires… These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported deaths, 60 civilian injuries and $36 million in direct property damage."
To ensure you, your family, pets and home avoid the dangers associated with fireworks, consider these valuable firework safety tips from Children's Healthcare of Atlanta:
- The best way to enjoy fireworks is to visit public fireworks displays hosted by professionals who know how to safely handle fireworks.
- If you plan to use fireworks, make sure they are legal in your area.
- Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass.
- Always have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby. Know how to operate the fire extinguisher properly.
- Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks.
- Stand several feet away from lit fireworks. If a device does not go off, do not stand over it to investigate it. Put it out with water and dispose of it.
- Closely supervise children around fireworks at all times.
Grill and barbecue safety
A fact sheet featured on the National Fire Protection Association's website states, "In 2005–2009, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 8,200 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues per year… These 8,200 fires caused annual average of 15 civilian deaths, 120 reported civilian injuries and $75 million in direct property damage."
As you and your family grill or barbecue this summer, consider these helpful tips from Rainbow International®, a damage restoration and remediation franchise:
- Check your grill for safety hazards. Gas connections should be checked for leaks by applying a soapy water solution. When applied, bubbles will form if gas is escaping.
- Carefully clean out any particles, dust and cobwebs that may have built up over the winter. Use a pipe cleaner or wire to ensure that the debris is removed correctly. Remove lava rocks and grates for a thorough cleaning with soap and warm water.
- Never use wood, charcoal briquettes, barbecue starter fluid or gasoline in conjunction with your propane or natural gas barbecue. Doing so is likely to result in a highly flammable situation.
- Barbecue in an open outdoor space for ventilation purposes and always keep a fire extinguisher handy.
- Don't allow an accumulation of grease to occur by keeping your grill and burners clean. This greatly reduces the chances of a grease fire.
- Never fight a grease fire with water. This will only cause the flames to flare up.
Below are some additional grill safety tips from Children's Healthcare of Atlanta:
- Keep children and pets away from the grill area by declaring a three-foot "kid-free zone" around the grill.
- Be careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire because flames can flashback up into the container and explode.
- Do not wear loose clothing while cooking at a grill.
- When cooking food, use long-handled grilling tools to give plenty of clearance from heat and flames. Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below the grill so it cannot be ignited when the grill is hot.
- Keep all matches and lighters away from children. Teach your children to report any loose matches or lighters to an adult immediately. Supervise children around outdoor grills.
- Dispose of hot coals properly. Douse them with plenty of water and stir them to ensure that the fire is out. Never place them in plastic, paper or wooden containers.
- If you smell gas while cooking on a propane gas grill, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the grill.
- Never store propane cylinders in buildings or garages. If you store a gas grill inside during the winter, disconnect the cylinder and leave it outside.
For even more information on fire safety, check out a wealth of statistics and tips at NFPA.org.