NEWARK – This weekend marks the start of summer with Memorial Day and as temperatures begin to rise, so does the risk of injury. The Division of Consumer Affairs and the US Product Safety Commission are kicking off “Summer Safety Week” to provide consumers with tips and tricks on how to stay safe from warm weather hazards.
“For many people, the months between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the most fun and exciting months of the year. But summer activities come with preventable risks, especially for children,” said Paul R. Rodríguez, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “As we head into the Memorial Day weekend, we’re urging consumers to learn how to avoid seasonal risks to themselves and their children so that everyone stays safe while enjoying summer activities.”
Many will be celebrating Memorial Day Weekend with a party, barbeque or just some time outdoors. The Division of Consumer Affairs and the US Product Safety Commission are reminding everyone to avoid common hazards of summer celebrations, like grill fires or sports injuries.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (“NFPA”), May is among the leading months for home grilling fires. The peak months for grilling fires are July, followed by June, May, and August.
On average each year (between 2013 and 2017), US fire departments responded to 10,200 home fires involving grills, hibachis, or barbecues, including an average of 4,500 structure fires and 5,700 outside or unclassified fires. These fires resulted in 10 civilian deaths, 160 civilian injuries, and $123 million in direct property damage, on average each year.
According to the NFPA, the leading causes of home grilling fires include failing to properly clean the grill, leaks or breaks, and having a flammable object too close to the grill. Unattended cooking is a major cause of all types of cooking fires, including grill fires. Leaks and breaks are a particular problem with gas grills.
The Division of Consumer Affairs and the Consumer Product Safety Commission provide the following tips to ensure grill safety:
- Propane and charcoal grills should only be used outdoors. Keep them well away from the home, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. Do not use them in garages or on porches. Never use them inside a tent or other structure. Failure to follow this step could lead to carbon monoxide or fire hazards.
- Before using an old grill for the first time this summer, check the CPSC’s website, at cpsc.gov to ensure it has not been subject to a safety recall.
- Always follow the safety instructions that accompany any grill you use.
- Keep children at least three feet away from the grill. The outside surface can become very hot and remain hot even after the fire has been put out.
- Keep a kitchen fire extinguisher nearby.
- Keep flammable liquids, such as gasoline or lighter fluid, away from the grill.
- Thoroughly inspect gas grills before use to ensure there are no leaks
- Buy grills and LP gas containers that bear the mark of a nationally-recognized testing laboratory.
As well as general fire safety:
- Always remember that charcoal grills and campfires remain hot even after the fire has been put out.
- Keep campfires to a small, manageable size.
- Teach children how to stop, drop and roll if an article of clothing ever catches fire.Young children can learn best if you practice the steps with them, rather than just talking about them.
For more information on how to stay safe this summer while having fun, follow Summer Safety Week on social media.