Summer Fire Safety

Have a (figurative-only) blast at summer gatherings

Summer is a time for fun—fireworks for Independence Day, backyard barbecues and long evenings on the patio, lit by candlelight. With each of these examples, comes the risk of fire and fire-related injuries. 

Fireworks safety

Keep in mind that even though sparklers might seem harmless, they burn at temps of 2,000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt some metals. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports an average of 250 people go to the emergency room each day with fireworks-related injuries in the weeks before and after the 4th of July. 

It might be tempting to put on a private firework display, but the safest choice is to attend public displays and leave the lighting to the pros. If you do celebrate with fireworks at home:

  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that haven’t fully ignited.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at someone else.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy.
  • After fireworks have finished burning, douse the device with plenty of water before discarding.

Grilling safety

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) suggests that when you plan to grill:

  • Only use propane and charcoal grills outdoors.
  • Ensure the outdoor grill is at least three feet from siding, deck rails, eaves, children and pets.
  • Use long-handled barbecue tools.
  • Never leave the grill unattended.
  • Clean your grill after each use to remove grease. 

Outdoor fire safety

Candles, torches and fire pits can help extend outdoor summer revelry after the sun goes down. Whether using portable fireplaces or patio torches, the USFA recommends building fires at least 15 feet away from structures, tables and shrubs, plus keeping a three-foot safe zone around the fire.

The National Fire Protection Association suggests:

  • Using battery-operated flameless candles and solar-powered tiki torches
  • Never leaving kids alone with burning candles or torches
  • Keeping matches and lighters out of reach of children

First aid

Kids under five are more than twice as likely as the general population to suffer burn injuries that require emergency medical treatment, according to the American Burn Association. Young adults ages 20-29 are 1.5 times more likely to have a burn injury.

With any young people exposed to the risk of burns, the best thing to do is follow these simple steps to be prepared:

  • See your doctor if the burn is larger than your palm.
  • Place the burn in cool water for three to five minutes.
  • Cover the burn with a clean, dry cloth.

This article is shared with permission from the YMCA of the Greater Houston.