During the summer, many people enjoy the weather with outdoor activities like cookouts, camping, and bonfires. Each of these activities are a fun way to gather with friends and family, but they also each have inherent fire dangers. The danger of these potential fire hazards may slip your mind when you are enjoying yourself and getting caught up in the festivities at a backyard cookout or bonfire. However, it is very important to be mindful of these dangers and follow good fire safety practices to prevent a pleasant cookout from turning into a disaster. The most effective fire prevention is responsible action. The following fire safety tips will help you prevent fires as you enjoy your summer.
Few activities really capture the essence of summer like a backyard cookout. Summer cookouts are a tradition that are normally held to celebrate holidays like Memorial Day and the 4th of July, graduations, or just the fact that it’s summer. With so many people, children, and pets walking around your backyard during a cookout, it is very important to take fire safety precautions, whether you are using a gas or charcoal grill. Please review the following grilling safety tips before your next cookout:
- Put your grill in an open, well ventilated area a safe distance from trees and structures like your home, garage, or shed.
- Wear tight-fitting clothing.
- For gas grills, check the connections in the fuel line between the gas tank and the grill before starting it.
- For charcoal grills, only use the recommended amount of lighter fluid and never add lighter fluid once the grill is lit.
- Never leave a lit grill unattended and keep children and pets away from the grill.
- Drain all meat of liquids or marinades before putting them on the grill because they can cause the flames to flare up.
- Cover the grill if the flames become too big, do not try to control the flames with water.
- Clean the grill and your utensils before and after each use.
- Do not dispose of used charcoal until the coals have cooled completely. Covering the charcoal with water is a good way to ensure it is extinguished.
Campfire/ Bonfire Safety
Sitting around the fire, whether at a campsite or in your backyard, is a great way to socialize with friends and family on summer nights. Regardless of where you build the fire, you must keep these fire safety tips in mind:
- If you are at a campground or a park, make sure you follow their rules regarding fires.
- Build your fire in a safe and open location, away from trees, bushes, tents, homes, garages, gazebos, or anything else that can go up in flames.
- Fires must be built in fire pits. Parks and campgrounds that allow fires will have pits that you can use. If you are planning on hosting bonfires in your backyard, build a fire pit first.
- Try to refrain from using gas or lighter fluid to start or fuel the fire, and don’t store these objects anywhere near the fire.
- Do not let the flames get too large or out of control. Keep the fire small and never leave it unattended.
- Make sure you have the means to extinguish the fire before starting it. You can put out campfires and bonfires by dumping water on them and shoveling dirt over the embers.
It is important to pay attention to any burn bans in your area. Burn bans are put into effect during the summer if the weather conditions increase the risk of a fire. These bans typically cover material burning and not recreational fires, but the details of the ban could change according to the weather conditions. In most areas of Minnesota, you need to get a burning permit for material burning. Check with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for more information on burning restrictions and permits.
Fireworks are probably the only thing more synonymous with the 4th of July than backyard cookouts. People across the U.S. celebrate Independence Day with a variety of fireworks and every year, thousands of Americans are injured due to firework accidents and mishaps. It is very important to use fireworks with the utmost safety to prevent injuries and fires.
- We urge you to use legal fireworks. The state of Minnesota bans fireworks that fly or explode which include bottle rockets, fire crackers, and mortars. The most serious firework related injuries are caused by illegal fireworks. Not only are legal fireworks safer to use, but using them will also prevent you from getting in trouble.
- Do your research into what types of fireworks are legal as well as how to use them safely. Follow all directions and warning labels that come with the fireworks.
- Always supervise children when lighting fireworks. If you don’t feel comfortable letting children play with fireworks, then don’t. The majority of those injured by fireworks are boys age 14 and under.
- Light fireworks somewhere safe outside, away from dry grass or foliage.
- Make sure your spectators are a safe distance from the fireworks.
- Only light one firework at a time, and make sure you move a safe distance away immediately after lighting it.
- If a firework doesn’t go off when lit, dump water on it and throw it away.
As you enjoy the festivities that the summer has to offer, make sure you follow these fire safety and prevention tips when necessary. Responsible fire safety will keep your summer activities fun and exciting and help prevent serious accidents that could result in injuries and property damage. If you do experience a fire on your property this summer, make sure you call our professionals at ServiceMaster Professional Services as soon as possible for fire and smoke damage restoration services. The fire damage restoration experts of SVMPS will work diligently to salvage as much of your property as possible, and we also provide deodorization to remove smoke odors.