Fireworks and backyard-grilling become America's past-time on the most patriotic holiday of the year. But the fourth of July can turn dangerous, and even deadly, for people who aren't paying close enough attention.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), on average 230 people go the emergency room with fireworks-related injuries each day nearing the July 4th holiday. There are a number of measures that can be taken to stay safe while having fun this upcoming holiday.
Legal fireworks that comply with CPSC regulations can be safe when used responsibly, but all fireworks by nature are hazardous and can cause injuries. The CPSC recommends the following safety tips to prevent misuse that could lead to accidents:
- Children of any age should be supervised by an adult at all times when handling fireworks. Young children should not be given a "sparkler" as the unsupervised safe option, they should still be near an adult at all times due to very high temperatures.
- Set off fireworks in a clear area, away from houses, cars, dry leaves, grass and any other flammable material.
- Always keep a bucket of water nearby in case of an emergency. If a firework fails to ignite, pour the water on it to prevent it from igniting at a later time without awareness.
- Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them in water and throw them away.
- Make sure people and animals are out of range before lighting fireworks.
- Never light fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.
- Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place. Be sure to check instructions for special storage directions.
- Always observe local laws. Make sure it is legal in your county to light fireworks in a residential area.
- Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting.
- Do not experiment with homemade fireworks
According to the CPSC, charcoal grills should only be used outside with plenty of fresh air. The grills give off carbon monoxide gas, which can be fatal when inhaled in a closed off space. Other tips include:
- Never use a charcoal grill in your garage, house, tent or camper.
- Even after cooking, make sure the grill has plenty of time to cool off before bringing it inside.
- It is best to empty grills completely before storing.
- Eighteen percent of all grill fires result from a grill being too close to combustibles. Keep lighter fluids capped and a safe distance from the grill.
- If a starter fluid is needed, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
- When finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing of it in a metal container.
According to StateFarm Insurance, the leading cause of gas grill fires is a fuel line leak or break. Here are some tips for you to stay safe around a gas grill:
- Always inspect the lines for cracking, sharp bends and brittleness. Rub soapy water on the line and watch for bubbling to spot leaks.
- CPSC says to make sure hoses are as far away from the hot surface as possible. Make sure to keep hoses away from areas where grease could drip on them. If it's not possible to move the hoses, have a heat shield installed.
- If the grill’s flame goes out, turn off the gas supply at the propane tank. Propane gas can build up underneath the grill racks and pose a dangerous explosion hazard. Open the grill lid and wait at least 5 to 10 minutes for the gas to dissipate before restarting the grill.
- Make sure to clean the grill after each use. Stuck-on char can lead to flares and can even increase cancer risks.
- Wait 48 hours before disposing of charcoal ashes.
- The grill should always be a safe distance from family and pets. Make sure to maintain at least 10 feet between the grill and any building wall or railing.
- Never leave a grill unattended.
The National Safety Council reports that nationwide, about 250 children under the age of 5 drown each year. Most of those incidents occur in backyard pools and studies have shown that shown that usually, an adult was nearby, but not watching the child when they fell in the pool.
- Never leave a young child unattended near water, and do not trust a child’s life to another child. Teach children to always ask permission to go near water. If a child is missing, check the water first.
- Provide close and constant attention to children and inexperienced swimmers you are supervising in or near the water. Avoid distractions while supervising.
- Should someone start drowning, scream for someone to call 911.
- Never jump in the pool after someone in the water, because they can pull you under. Use something like a skimmer or something long that can be found around the house to bring them to the side.
- Grab them by the wrists and pull them up out of the water. If necessary perform CPR.