Nothing says "summer" like a campfire or bonfire, but these fun activities also present a number of safety hazards. According to a report from the United States Fire Administration, summer is one of the most dangerous seasons for fire-related injuries and deaths. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to protect yourself and your loved ones while still having a great time.
Campfire Safety Tips
If you'll be spending the summer camping or just toasting marshmallows in the back yard, it's a good idea to educate yourself about campfire safety. Keep the following tips in mind.
Follow Area Rules
Always follow the campfire rules for the area where you are camping or living. Some parks and towns prohibit fires, and these rules are there for a reason. Check the local regulations before you build your fire.
Know to Stop, Drop, and Roll
It is important to make sure that all members of your family know to "Stop, Drop, and Roll" if an article of clothing ever catches on fire. Instead of just talking about it to young children, practice the steps together.
Check Your Surroundings
Choose a location for your campfire where it will not spread. Never build a campfire near any dry leaves or grassy areas or under overhanging tree branches. Before building a campfire, clear away all shrubbery and vegetation from the area, dig a pit for the fire, and surround it with rocks.
Be Smart About Lighter Fluid
Do not store gasoline, liquid fire starter, or any other type of flammable liquid near the campfire. It's too easy for stray flames to ignite these materials.
Keep Your Fire Away from the Tent
Do not place your campfire near the tent. It should always be placed downwind from the tent. Only use tents made from flame-retardant materials if you'll be having a campfire.
Keep It Under Control
Do not build large campfires, even if they seem impressive. It's much safer to keep fires small so they are easier to control.
Never leave a campfire lit if there is no one to attend to it. If you're going to sleep for the night, always take the time to put the fire out.
Never light a campfire if you do not have the means of extinguishing it. Always keep plenty of water and a shovel near the campfire to use in an emergency and to put the campfire out when you are finished using it.
Know How to Put It Out
To extinguish a campfire douse it with water, use the shovel to bury the fire with ash and dirt. Then douse the area with water.
Fire Safety Tips for Summer Travel
Summer is a great time to take a road trip or go camping, but it's smart to stay away of fire safety on your trip. Keep these tips in mind.
Choose a Fire-Safe Motel or Hotel
When staying at a motel or hotel, choose one that has a fire sprinkler system and smoke alarms. Ask at the front desk clerk about the fire notification system and what the fire alarm sounds like. Review the fire escape plan posted in the room. Read the checklist for hotel fire safety before you settle in for the night.
Identify the Exits
Whether you're in a hotel or a restaurant or a museum, always make sure you are familiar with where the closest exits are located. This will be very important if a fire breaks out.
Don't Throw Lit Cigarettes out of the Car
Never throw a lit cigarette, match, or cigar out of a car window or onto the ground. It could ignite dry vegetation or even in rare circumstances, ignite fumes from your vehicle.
Fireworks are another important safety hazard in the summer months. In fact, the report from the United States Fire Safety Administration says that summer fires peak over Fourth of July weekend. Be sure to read up on fireworks safety tips to keep your celebration accident-free.
Grills and Outdoor Cooking Safety
Summer is all about grilling outside, but this type of food preparation can also be hazardous. Be sure to research outdoor cooking safety before you get out your grill for the season.
Protecting Your Home and Family from Summer Wildfires
Summer is also the season of wildfires for people in some parts of the country. If you live in an area that experiences these natural disasters, heed the advice of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and keep the following tips in mind.
Assemble an Emergency Kit
Create a kit for wildfire-related emergencies in case it becomes difficult for you to get supplies. You should keep three days' worth of food, water, and medical supplies on hand at all times. Store your kit in a safe place like your basement or pantry.
Have a Wildfire Plan
Before there is a danger of wildfires, sit down with your family to agree on an escape route from your home. Map out several routes your could take to leave the area in your vehicle. Write down your plans, and keep them with your emergency kit.
Create a Safety Zone Around Your House
FEMA recommends clearing all dry vegetation and debris from around your home, keeping a clear area that extends 30 to 100 feet from your house. Get rid of dry grass, leaves, vines, fallen branches, firewood, and other flammable materials within this area. Mow your grass to keep it short, and never store rags with oil or gasoline near your home.
Help Firefighters Find Your House
If firefighters need to get to your house, it's best if the property is clearly marked. Make sure your house number is clearly visible from the street.
Enjoy the Summer
By knowing and practicing summer fire safety tips, you can enjoy many wonderful times in the great outdoors filled with laughter, happiness and safety.