May 20, 2021 3:30 PM

Summer is a wonderful time of year. It is a time to enjoy the great outdoors, celebrate with friends and family, and relax while the kids are out of school. However, fire and burn injuries do not take a summer vacation. Knowing a few safety tips and following these recommendations can help ensure it will be safe as well as fun!

Campfire Safety

Campfire safety starts with planning where to put the fire, and how to build it. Whether or not a designated fire pit is available make sure that you are building your fire at least 15 feet downwind of your tent, and anything that is flammable. When you start building your fire try to keep it as small as possible, and make sure, you have water nearby to extinguish it at a moment’s notice. 

Once the fire is going, do what you can to keep it contained and never use any kind of accelerant, like gasoline, which can lead to a fire quickly getting out of control, especially with the drought conditions we are likely to experience this year. Also, never throw anything into the fire other than wood. Paper or other trash can blow out of the fire and ignite surrounding brush and trees.  

All parents know that it is not a good idea to let kids get too close to a campfire. While three feet away from a campfire is the standard safety rule, very few adhere to it, and accidents are tragically common. The three-foot “circle of safety” not only makes it less likely that someone will fall into the fire, but also lessens the risk of sparks causing a burn injury.

While most people focus on the risk of burn injuries from flames, the real risk comes from embers left behind after the fire dies down. This is because embers stay hot enough to cause a severe burn for up to 12 hours after the fire is out. The best way to extinguish a fire pit is to pour water on it until it is completely cool.

Firework injuries

Like embers, sparklers appear to pose little danger. However, in reality the small sparklers that are staples of our July celebrations can reach temperatures of greater than 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit – hotter than a blowtorch.

These and all other fireworks should be used with caution and kept out of children’s reach. It is a good idea to plan for the disposal of fireworks before you even start lighting them. Have a large bucket of water on hand to place spent fireworks in because even used fireworks can be hot enough to burn.

The best way to avoid a burn injury from a firework is to avoid them altogether. There are plenty of other fun ways to make some celebratory noise – like confetti poppers, colored streamers, or glow sticks. You also can get your fireworks fill by attending large displays put on by professionals who follow stringent safety guidelines.

Grilling Safety

As weather gets warmer more people use outdoor grills, and incidents involving grill-caused fires go up. Regardless of the type of grill, you own there a few basic safety tips that will keep you and your family safe.

Never leave a lit grill unattended or allow kids or pets to play near the grill. The general rule here is the same as the three-foot circle of safety around a fire pit. Remember the grill will stay hot for at least an hour after use.

Keep your grill at least 10 feet away from the house. This includes carports, garages and porches as flames can ignite the structures above.

Keeping a fire extinguisher close to the grill and knowing how to use it can be life changing. However, many fire deaths occur when people try to fight the fire themselves instead of calling for expert help from the Fire Department.

Of course, there are going to be times that burn injuries occur. When they do, be prepared with the four c’s: cool, clean, cover and call. Cool the burn area with cool (not cold) water. Clean the area with a mild soap to prevent infection. Cover the burn with a clean cloth or gauze. Call for medical help if needed and an injury appears to be serious. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

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