Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fun On The Fourth - Fire Risks Are More Abundant

Independence Day is less than 24 hours away and the scents of summer celebration are ready to be unleashed. The smell of hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, sun-sweetened tea, fresh-squeezed lemonade, ripe watermelon and emblazoned fireworks will infuse the backyards, porches, waterfronts and street corners of many American cities and small towns tomorrow.

A report by the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council reports that approximately 150 million hot dogs will be eaten by Americans during this year's Fourth of July festivities. While only a fraction of that number may suffer from injuries related to fireworks, fire safety cannot be ignored. A day to remember all that America stands for, the Fourth of July is a day that Americans must also remember and practice fire safety. Failure to practice fire prevention is sure to take the fun out of the Fourth.

The U.S. Fire Administration reports that each year more than 8,000 Americans experience fire-related injuries or damages and more than half of those take place during the first week of July. In 2005, approximately 10,800 people made emergency room visits to treat firework-related injuries. The U.S.F.A. also estimates that cooking grills alone are responsible for approximately $35 million in property loss. Fifty-nine percent of fires caused by fireworks occur during the Fourth of July holiday. While property loss from fires related to fireworks may be fewer (because this activity typically takes place outside in open fields or near water), the past year's dry weather raises the fire risk.

Don't let fire ruin the fun for your Fourth of July festivities. Keep in mind a few simple safety tips:


1) Do not grill in enclosed areas - carbon monoxide can be produced. Be sure you are grilling in an open area.

2) Never overfill the propane tank.

3) BEFORE you use a grill, check the fuel line and propane tank connection. The venturi tubes - where the air and gas mix - must not be blocked.

4) No loose clothing is allowed while you're grilling!

5) Use care when using lighter fluid. A lit fire can flashback and cause an explosion if lighter fluid is added.


1) Again, loose clothing is NOT allowed when handling fireworks.

2) Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass.

3) Never stand close to lit fireworks. Always stand several feet away.

4) Always read the directions and warning labels on fireworks. Unmarked fireworks (no directions, warnings or content list) should never be lit.

5) Always keep a fire extinguisher or a bucket of water nearby.

6) Always purchase consumer fireworks from reliable sources and licensed dealers. These dealers will only carry those products that meet standards set and enforced by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

7) Lastly, leave fireworks to the professionals. The fireworks show will be much more enjoyable if they are handled by professionals who know how to safely use them.

Be sure to follow these tips to protect yourself, your loved ones and your home in the event of disaster. While you cannot predict a disaster, following safety precautions will reduce your risk.

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