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Fire safety tips

Fire Safety Tips for Kids: What Every Parent Should Know

June 18, 2019

As parents, we look forward to creating happy summer memories for our children. We watch fireworks displays, host barbecues and take family camping trips, complete with homemade s’mores around the fire. Unfortunately, these enjoyable activities can turn deadly in a moment, especially when fire is involved. Every year, 300 people die and $280 million worth of property is damaged as a result of children playing with fire. Thousands more go to the emergency room each summer for injuries caused by fireworks, campfires and outdoor grills. Here are some fire safety tips to help you and your kids have a safe and enjoyable summer.

Fire Safety Tips for Campfires and Bonfires

  • Keep fires at least 25 feet away from any structures, tents, trees, shrubs or other objects likely to burn. 
  • Avoid starting campfires on dry and windy days.
  • Watch children at all times when a campfire is burning. Keep kids and pets at least three feet from the fire.
  • Never leave a campfire unattended, even for a short time.
  • Avoid using gasoline or other flammable liquids near the fire.
  • Always keep a hose, bucket of water, or a shovel with an ample supply of dirt or sand nearby in case you need to extinguish the fire quickly.
  • Supervise your children carefully when roasting marshmallows. Shaking a roasting marshmallow can cause it to turn into a flying ball of flame. Kids (and adults) can also suffer serious burns from hot metal skewers.
  • If your clothes catch fire, first stop and drop to the ground, covering your face with your hands. Then roll over or back and forth until the fire is out. If necessary, perform the same steps on your child.
  • Put your campfire out completely before leaving the site. Make sure there are no sparks remaining.

Fire Safety Tips for Outdoor Grilling

  • Place all grills a safe distance away from the house and deck railings. Don’t put a grill under eaves or overhanging branches. 
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
  • Don’t leave a lighted grill unattended.
  • Between uses, remove grease build-up from the grill racks and the trays below the grill.

Fire Safety Tips for Propane or Gas grills

  • Always open the gas grill lid before lighting it.
  • Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each season. If you suspect a leak, turn off the gas and the grill immediately. If you smell gas, call the fire department. 
  • If the flame goes out while you are cooking, turn off the grill and gas and wait at least five minutes before re-lighting.

Fire Safety Tips for Charcoal grills

  • If you are using charcoal starter fluid, follow the directions carefully. Only use fluids designated for use with charcoal grills.
  • Keep charcoal lighter fluid away from children and heat sources. Do not add it to the fire once it is burning.
  • When you are finished grilling, let the coals cool completely and then dispose of them in a metal container.

Fireworks Safety

The U.S. Fire Administration warns people of all ages against lighting fireworks at home because there is the risk of serious or deadly injuries. However, these fire safety tips may help reduce the risk of accidents for those who choose to use fireworks:    

  • Check local ordinances to find out which kinds of fireworks are legal for home use in your area and when you are allowed to light them.
  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks, including sparklers, which can become hot enough to melt metal.
  • Never stand or lean directly over the firework while lighting the fuse.
  • Keep a hose or bucket of water nearby when using fireworks.
  • Douse used fireworks with plenty of water before discarding.

“We urge everyone to take basic fire safety precautions, especially during summer. Even with proper precaution, some accidents can be caused by defective products, such as grills or lighters, or unsafe conditions in a campground,” says Mark Bernstein of The Sam Bernstein Law Firm. “If you or a loved one has been injured in a summer accident, call us immediately. Our experienced lawyers will help you win the compensation you and your family deserve.”

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