Practice Fire Safety for July 4

Ensure a safe Independence Day through fire safety

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) With Independence Day in full swing, many families are gearing up for a day of festivities filled with homemade food and parades. In a large number of those celebrations, grilling and fireworks will also be part of the day.

U.S. Fire Administration and Safe Kids USA are requesting that families and individuals make sure their Fourth of July celebrations are memorable, but also safe. The organizations are encouraging safe grilling and attending fireworks shows instead of putting on your own.

"Please be careful around fireworks."

Meri-K Appy, president of Safe Kids USA urges fun combined with safety, reminding that simple steps should be taken to protect children, who are most vulnerable to fire-related burns, injuries and death. Though fireworks remain a fascination for those of any age, caution is advised since they can be extremely dangerous.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recently released a report indicating that there were three fireworks-related deaths in 2010. In addition, about 8,600 were treated at U.S. hospitals for fireworks-related injuries last year.

Children under the age of 15 accounted for 40 percent of those injuries.

More than 1,200 of those injuries were from sparklers, and 400 were from bottle rockets. More than half of all injuries were burns. About 65 percent of those treated were male.

In addition to attending a professional show instead of lighting your own fireworks, several fireworks safety tips can help ensure your holiday remains safe.

  • Sparklers are not toys. They get 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.

Since Independence Day also tends to bring barbecues, picnics and other outdoor activities, the U.S. Fire Administration also urges families and individuals to follow a list of tips to avoid burns and other injuries.

  • Propane and charcoal grills must be used only 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 barbeque 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 by a hot grill.
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 3, 2012
Last Updated:
July 3, 2012