Summertime fire safety tips

The weather is warming, Memorial Day has come and gone and summer has unofficially begun. The time for outdoor activities and parties is here, and I encourage you to take added safety precautions with fireworks and outdoor grills.

Annually, just under 10,000 Americans are injured by fireworks and almost 5,000 are injured by grill fires according to the United States Fire Administration. Taking a few simple precautions, knowing fire safety tips and following instructions will help everyone enjoy a safe summer.

Fireworks Safety

  • The only types of fireworks that can be legally purchased and discharged in Ohio are trick and novelty devices. These include items that smoke, sparkle, snap and snake.
  • Handle and discharge trick and novelty devices only under adult supervision.
  • Appoint one adult to be in charge. This person should know the hazards of each type of firework being used.
  • Carefully read and follow the label directions on the trick and novelty device packaging.
  • Light only one sparkler at a time and hold it away from your body and others.
  • Sparkler wires, which can burn up to 1,800 degrees, should be placed in a bucket of water after they are spent, in order to avoid injury.
  • If someone gets burned, run cool water over the wound for two or three minutes and seek medical attention when necessary.

Barbecue/Grill Safety

  • Before using a grill, check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line.
  • Do not overfill the propane tank.
  • Do not wear loose clothing while cooking at a barbecue.
  • Be careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire because the flame can flashback up into the container and explode.
  • 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.
  • Never grill/barbecue in enclosed areas – carbon monoxide, one of the products of combustion, is called the silent killer because it can accumulate unnoticed in an enclosed area.
  • Make sure everyone knows to “Stop, Drop and Roll” in case a piece of clothing does catch fire. Call 911 if a burn warrants serious medical attention. All burns to the face, hands, feet or groin require medical attention.

During the summer months, fire safety focuses on outside activities such as fireworks and grilling. But while you are already thinking about taking safety precautions, take the time to test your smoke detectors. If you have not recently changed the batteries, do it now. Also, dust or vacuum around the detector and replace any units that are 10 years old or older.

It is also important to take the time to review your home fire escape plan and make certain every family member has two ways out of the home and knows the outside meeting location. These measures will help ensure that your family and friends stay safe during the summer and all year round.
Enjoy your summer and stay safe!

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Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 9:54 AM, 05.29.2013