USFA Issues Fourth of July Fire Safety Tips

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s annual death and injury report on fireworks, approximately 40 percent of fireworks injuries occur to children younger than 15 years of age.

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) and Safe Kids USA are encouraging families and individuals to prepare for a safe and memorable Fourth of July by practicing safe grilling and leaving the fireworks to the professionals.

“Independence Day is a major highlight of the summer and for many people there’s a lot of excitement around setting off colorful fireworks and starting up the grill,” said Deputy U.S. Fire Administrator Glenn Gaines.

Meri-K Appy, president of Safe Kids USA, joins Gaines in urging all Americans to have a fun and safe weekend. “We are reminding everyone of simple steps they can take to protect their children who are most vulnerable to fire-related burns, injuries, and deaths,” Appy said.

Fireworks

Many children and adults are fascinated by fireworks, but they can be extremely dangerous. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) annual death and injury report on fireworks, approximately 40 percent of fireworks injuries occur to children younger than 15 years of age. In addition, CPSC received reports of three fatalities related to fireworks in 2010.

The best way to stay safe is not to use any fireworks at home. Attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals.

Fireworks Fire Safety Tips

  • Sparklers are not toys. They can reach 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit—hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Leave pieces of fireworks on the ground after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode.
  • Stand several feet away from the professionals lighting fireworks; fireworks have been known to backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction.

Grilling

Every Fourth of July Americans look forward to picnics, camping, and other outdoor activities. The holiday, however, also brings fires and injuries due to outdoor cooking. By taking a few fire safety precautions, everyone can enjoy a safe Independence Day.

Grilling Fire Safety Tips

  • Propane and charcoal barbecue grills must only be used outdoors. If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces such as tents, they pose a fire hazard and a risk of exposing occupants to deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play areas, and foot traffic. Grills should be positioned at least 10 feet away from siding, deck railing, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep, matches, lighters, and starter fluid out of the reach of children in a locked drawer or cabinet.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area: declare a three-foot "kid-free zone" around the grill.
  • Use long barbecue mitts and long-handled grilling tools to protect the chef from heat and flames when cooking.
  • Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below the grill so it cannot be ignited.

For more information, please visit Safe Kids USA at www.safekids.org and USFA’s Focus on Fire Safety: Summer Fire Safety webpage.

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