Safety Gram: Summer fire safety Print E-mail
Thursday, 15 June 2017
By Michael Campbell
Special to GUIDON

Summer is a time for campfires, barbecues, and fireworks.

Summer should be a time for fun and making happy memories, but it can also be a time of extreme fire danger.

Knowing a few fire safety tips and following instructions will help everyone have a safe summer.

Fireworks safety
Check with local emergency management authorities to find out about what laws may apply in your area.

Many cities do not allow fireworks to be put off within city limits. Residents are asked to properly dispose of their used fireworks as well as an accompanying packaging.

Check with local officials to find out if your county has a burn ban. A burn ban would prohibit the use of fireworks.

According to the United States Fire Administration, nearly 10,000 Americans are injured by fireworks, and almost 5,000 are injured by charcoal/wood-burning and propane grill fires annually.

In 2007, 64 percent of fireworks injuries occurred between June 22 and July 22.

The best way to enjoy fireworks is to visit public fireworks displays put on by professionals who know how to safely handle fireworks.

If you plan to use fireworks, make sure they are legal in your area.

Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass.

Always have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby and know how to operate the fire extinguisher properly.

Stand several feet away from lit fireworks. If a device does not go off, do not stand over it to investigate it. Put it out with water and dispose of it.

Always read the directions and warning labels on fireworks. If a device is not marked with the contents, direction and a warning label, do not light it. Supervise children around fireworks at all times.

Fort Leonard Wood Regulation 420-2, Fire Regulation, states: The sale, storage, transportation, possession, or use of fireworks of any description on the installation is prohibited.

Public pyrotechnic displays must be conducted by an experienced and state-licensed private contractor. Compliance with all pertinent codes and regulations is required.

Barbecue safety
Before using a grill, check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line. Make sure the venturi tubes — where the air and gas mix — are not blocked.

Do not overfill the propane tank.

Do not wear loose clothing while cooking at a barbecue.

Be careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire because the flame can flashback up into the container and explode.

Keep all matches and lighters away from children. Teach your children to report any loose matches or lighters to an adult immediately. Supervise children around outdoor grills.

Dispose of hot coals properly — douse them with plenty of water, and stir them to ensure that the fire is out.

Never place them in plastic, paper or wooden containers. Never grill/barbecue in enclosed areas — carbon monoxide could be produced.

Make sure everyone knows to stop, drop and roll in case a piece of clothing does catch fire.

Call 911 if a burn warrants serious medical attention.

Campfire safety
Many Families enjoy camping in the summer. It is important to follow the park’s rules for the use and extinguishing of campfires.

Build campfires where they will not spread, away from dry grass and leaves. Keep campfires small, and don’t let them get out of hand.

Keep plenty of water and a shovel around to douse the fire when you’re done. Stir it and douse it again with water.

Never leave campfires unattended.

FLW Reg. 420-2, Fire Regulation, states: Commercially produced/purchased outdoor fire places (such as chimineas and fire pits) are authorized for use in the Family housing areas.

Only wood may be burned. Flammable liquids may not be used to start the fire. The fire shall never be left unattended.

They shall not be used in carports, garages, under any overhangs, trees, or on any wooden deck at any time. IAW NFPA 1, chapter 10, a distance of not less than 25 feet shall be maintained in all directions from structures or combustible materials.

A readily available water source, such as a garden hose, pail of water, or a suitable fire extinguisher, shall be nearby to extinguish any errant sparks or embers while the fireplace is in use. Homemade outdoor fire places and fire pits are prohibited on post. Non-prescribed burning is prohibited on Fort Leonard Wood.

Wildfire awareness
Missouri records approximately 2,500 fire incidents each year. Fires within the state are classified as urban fires or wildland fires.

Major causes of urban fires include electrically related structural and vehicle fires, incendiary-arson, unattended cooking fires, smoking materials, heating devices, fuel systems, sparks, hazardous material spills, and spontaneous combustion.

Major sources of wildland fires include lightning, inadequate measures for controlled burns, smoking, and sparks from farm machinery and trains. Fires in areas of high fuel content, if not quickly detected and suppressed, can rapidly flare out of control, threaten lives and cause major damage to habitat, crops, livestock, wildlife, and structural property.

Local (city/county/tribal) jurisdictions may institute burn bans, in accordance with the fire danger index, if conditions require.

Contact your local emergency manager to inquire about the status of fire restrictions that may be in place.

For more information on Summer Safety or for any fire safety information, contact Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department’s Prevention section at 573.596.0131, ext. 60886.

(Editor’s note: Campbell is a fire inspector with the Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department.)

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 28 June 2017 )