Nothing rings in summer like firing up the grill, making s’mores, or getting your boat back on the water. Unfortunately, these warm-weather milestones significantly increase the risk of fires—and not always in the ways we expect.
Here are our experts’ tips for a safe, fire-free summer.
U.S. firefighters respond to more than 10,000 grill fires each year. Not surprisingly, most of these fires occur in the summer. Before you plan your next cookout:
- Clean your grill: Inadequate or infrequent grill cleaning is the leading cause of grill fires. Leftover cooking residue or leaking fuel can ignite without warning, turning your grill into a torch in a matter of seconds. Thoroughly clean your grill every time you use it.
- Check your spacing: Grills should generally be placed at least ten feet from anything flammable, including your home. Check your manufacturer’s guidelines for measurements specific to your grill model.
Want to learn more? Check out the NFPA's Grilling Safety Tip Sheet.
Fuel and Flammables
Some summertime flammables, including tiki torches, gas-powered landscaping equipment, and fire pits are easy to spot. Others, such as improperly disposed oily rags, may not be on everyone’s fire safety radar. Read the warning labels on any chemicals, fuels, or cleaning supplies you use this summer. Linseed oil, mineral spirits, Sterno burners and turpentine are some examples of common household flammables. Remember that oily rags tossed in the trash can combust.
Smoking is the fifth leading cause of house fires in the U.S., and the number one cause of house fire fatalities. Smoking fires can be prevented, though. Check out our tips here.
Everyone loves a freshly toasted s’more, but no one loves a fire pit flare-up! If you’ll be spending time around the campfire this summer, check out these tips for keeping kids safe around fire pits, which types of wood to burn, and more.
Over 9,000 fireworks-related injuries were reported to emergency rooms in 2018. More than a third of those ER visits were children. If fireworks are legal where you live and you’re planning to use them this 4th of July, be sure to keep them away from homes, flammables, and dry brush. Never let children handle sparklers or firecrackers, and soak both used and unused fireworks in water for at least two hours before tossing them out. Remember that hand sanitizer is extremely flammable – if you’ve recently used it, leave the sparklers to someone else!
In Any Season
Planning is everything. Know your emergency plan before a fire breaks out and talk with your family about evacuation routes. Make sure all family members are up to date on where you would meet if you got separated. Keep fire extinguishers on hand, keep your smoke detectors in good shape, and practice getting everyone out of the house (including pets!) safely. After the fire is put out and everyone is accounted for, call your independent insurance agent. They can help you navigate repairing, rebuilding, and replacing your home, apartment, or belongings.
Data source: NFPA