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Summer Home Fire Safety: 6 Tips for Barbecues and Outdoor Activities

A young boy in a fireman's uniform standing in front of a fire truck, promoting fire safety.

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While fun and festive, summer activities often come with inherent fire risks that require careful attention and an understanding of fire safety

Mindfully choosing where and how to enjoy these activities reduces the likelihood of accidental fires, thus protecting property and lives.

A family gathers in the backyard for a barbecue, cherishing quality time together while practicing fire safety.
  1. Safe grilling practices

When summer rolls around, grilling becomes a favored activity for many, turning meals into festive gatherings. However, to ensure these occasions remain joyful and safe, adhering to specific grilling practices is essential.

First and foremost, position your grill wisely. Keep it at least 10 feet from your house deck railings, and ensure it’s not under any overhanging branches or structures. This placement helps prevent fires that could arise from flare-ups or heat radiation.

Before firing up the grill, ensure it’s in optimal working condition. Check gas grills for hose leaks and blockages and ensure all parts are intact and clean. Remove old ashes and grease buildup from charcoal grills, which can be a fire hazard

After each use, once the grill has cooled down, clean it thoroughly to remove grease and food particles. This helps maintain the grill and significantly reduces the risk of unexpected fires.

  1. Proper use of fire pits

Enjoying the warmth of a fire pit is a quintessential summer evening activity, but it requires careful planning to ensure safety.

The first step is to choose an appropriate spot for your fire pit. Consider prevailing wind directions when choosing an open space to avoid smoke and ash blowing toward your home or seating area. 

Ensure the fire pit is placed on a non-flammable surface and at a safe distance — ideally 20 feet — from structures, trees, and other combustible materials.

Use a spark screen atop your fire pit to keep embers contained and reduce the risk of unintended fires. Regulate the size of your fires; smaller, manageable fires are safer and easier to control. Never leave the fire unattended, and always have a plan for extinguishing it safely. 

Keeping a bucket of water, sand, or a garden hose nearby is wise for quick response if the fire spreads beyond the pit.

Hand holding sparkler in front of American flag, emphasizing fire safety.
  1. Fireworks safety

Summer celebrations often feature the spectacular sight of fireworks, but their beauty comes with risks that demand responsible handling.

Before planning your fireworks display, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with local laws. Many areas have specific regulations about the types of fireworks allowed and the times and places to legally set them off. Contact your local fire department or municipal office to ensure you comply with local ordinances to avoid fines or more severe consequences.

To enjoy fireworks safely, purchase them from reputable dealers and only buy those approved by consumer safety groups. Always read and follow all the instructions on the packaging.

Set up your launching area on a flat, clear surface away from buildings, vehicles, and flammable materials. Have water or a fire extinguisher close at hand for emergencies.

Only adults should handle and ignite fireworks. Keep spectators at a safe distance, especially children and pets, to protect them from accidental sparks. Light fireworks one at a time, and never attempt to relight a “dud” firework.

After using a firework, wait for it to cool down completely. Then, soak it in a bucket of water overnight to ensure it is fully extinguished before disposal. Dispose of spent fireworks according to your community’s waste management guidelines.

  1. Emergency preparedness

Creating a fire escape plan is essential. Map out multiple exit routes from each room of your house, especially bedrooms. Identify two ways out of each room, ensuring all pathways are clear and doors and windows can open easily. 

Designate a safe meeting spot outside your home, such as a neighbor’s driveway or a nearby street corner, where everyone will gather after escaping. This spot should be safe from the house and easily recognizable to all family members.

Once you establish your plan, practice it regularly with all household members, including at night. Drills help everyone understand what they need to do and where they need to go, even in the disorienting and frightening circumstances of a real fire. Practicing helps reduce panic and confusion, making everyone more likely to get to safety quickly.

Position fire extinguishers strategically around your home, particularly in high-risk areas such as the kitchen, garage, and nearby fireplaces. Ensure every family member knows the location of the fire extinguishers and understands how to use them. It’s crucial to understand the PASS technique: Pull the pin, Aim low at the base of the fire, Squeeze the lever slowly, and Sweep the nozzle from side to side.

Additionally, check your fire extinguishers regularly to ensure they are charged and functioning. Replace or service any extinguisher that is not fully charged or has expired. Educating your family on the different types of fires (such as grease fires, electrical fires, etc.) and the appropriate type of extinguisher to use for each is also beneficial.

A young girl and a firefighter in a warehouse, emphasizing fire safety measures.
  1. Educating children about fire safety

Educating children about fire safety is an essential aspect of family preparedness that informs and empowers them. 

Start by explaining to children the nature of fire — how it can grow quickly and its potential hazards. Discuss the dangers of matches, lighters, and any fire-related tools, emphasizing that these are tools, not toys, and that only adults should use them.

It’s essential to convey this information clearly and straightforwardly without instilling fear, ensuring children understand the seriousness of fire safety.

Involve children in your home safety checks to make them feel involved and responsible. Show them how to check for hazards like flammable objects near cooking appliances or heaters. 

During fire drills, assign them specific roles or tasks that give them a sense of ownership over their safety. This could include checking that pathways to exits are clear or ensuring that safety ladders are accessible if needed.

  1. Storing flammable liquids properly

Always store flammable liquids like gasoline, propane, and paint thinners in approved containers to prevent leaks and withstand the contents’ properties. 

Use UL-approved containers for gasoline and appropriate propane-rated cylinders for propane storage. Label all containers clearly with the contents and storage date, and keep them in well-ventilated, cool, dry places away from living areas and sources of heat or sparks, such as grills or heaters.

For safety, store these containers in a locked, detached shed or a dedicated cabinet in your garage, away from children. Ensure the storage area includes a Class B fire extinguisher suitable for chemical fires. Check the containers regularly for any signs of damage or leaks, replacing them as necessary. 

Review and update your storage practices periodically to align with the latest safety standards and local regulations.

Never store propane tanks or large quantities of gasoline inside your home, including basements or attached garages, to avoid the risks of toxic fumes and fire hazards. Always prefer outdoor storage or a detached structure whenever possible.

Utah Disaster Cleanup is here to help

Utah Disaster Cleanup is ready to assist with any fire-related incidents. Our expertise in fire damage restoration and commitment to quick, professional service ensures that your home is restored safely and efficiently after a fire. 

So, as you implement these safety measures, remember that Utah Disaster Cleanup is ready to provide peace of mind and expert care for any disaster recovery needs.

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