With summer in full swing, the Fourth of July on the horizon and barbeque season heating up, it is important to practice good fire safety techniques.
Fireworks and outdoor cooking can cause injuries and property damage.
According to the National Fire Protection Agency, on July 4th more fires are reported than any other day of the year — fireworks account for more than half of them. In fact, fireworks are responsible for an average of 18,500 fires each year and result in $20 million dollars in property losses.
On average, there are 7 firework-related deaths each year and over 11,000 injuries. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that children under age 15 account for one-quarter of all injuries.
“Now that fireworks can be legally purchased in New Jersey, it is more important than ever to take precautions to prevent injuries and reduce the risk of fire when handling fireworks,” said David Kurasz, Executive Director of the New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board. “Each year some 1,300 structure fires are caused by fireworks that spark fires after landing on rooftops, wedging between structures or because they retain enough heat to start a fire.”
Some easy fireworks safety tips to follow include:
- Fireworks should ONLY be used outdoors in a clear area away from buildings and cars
- Always have a hose or bucket of water on hand in case of emergency
- Fireworks should only be handled by responsible adults
- Beware of Sparklers: Never light them inside a home AND handle with care –they can reach 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit which can cause 3rd degree burns.
- Size doesn’t equal danger: a small firecracker can burn as hot as a blowtorch
- Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can far away from any building or
- combustible materials
- Know your fireworks: read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before using
- Avoid the danger and go see a professional fireworks display
July is also a peak time month for grill fires and injuries. Backyard barbecues ignite 9,600 home fires each year, and cause 16,600 trips to the emergency room to be treated for burns from grills, hibachis or barbecues.
The next time you fire up the grill, remember these quick safety tips:
- Operate your grill outside: Gas and charcoal grills produce dangerous toxins
- Place grills at least ten feet away from your home, overhangs and trees
- Clean your grill before and after use to eliminate flare-ups
- Do not leave your grill unattended
- Keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from the grill
- Only use charcoal starter fluid – never use other flammable liquids
- Let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container away from the structures
- Check propane gas tank hoses for leaks – especially when changing the tank
“Fire doesn’t take a vacation, and the damage that can be caused by fireworks and barbecues can be devastating to your family, friends and property,” said Kurasz. “By taking a few simple precautions you can prevent injuries and fires and enjoy these fun, summertime activities safely.”
Here are some additional resources:
- NFPA Grilling Safety Resources
- Grilling Safety Tips (PDF)
- NFPA Grilling Safety Video
- ABC News Barbecue Do’s and Dont’s (2011)
- FireworkSafety.org – Tips
- National Safety Council – Fireworks Information
- NFPA Fireworks Safety Information Resources
- NFPA Fireworks Safety Tips (PDF)
- Dan Dufus Fireworks video
- NFPA Fireworks Injuries Video
- NFPA Demonstration of “M-Class” and aerial Fireworks Danger
- NFPA Fireworks Safety Video Featuring Real Family