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2020

With COVID-19 continuing to place limitations on social activities and engagements, people may increasingly turn to grilling, fire pits, and other at-home outdoor activities this summer, which presents an increased risk of associated fires. Here are five key reminders and guidelines for safely enjoying these activities:

 

Make sure your gas grill is working properly

  • Leaks or breaks are primarily a problem with gas grills. Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year.
  • If your grill has a gas leak detected by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off both the gas tank and the grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and do not move it. If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 5 minutes before re-lighting it.

 

Never leave equipment unattended

  • Make sure to closely monitor food cooking on the grill.
  • Turn the grill off promptly when you’re done cooking, and let it cool completely before returning it to its original location.
  • For campfires, fire pits, and chimineas, always have a hose, bucket of water, or shovel and dirt or sand nearby, and make sure the fire is completely out before going to sleep or leaving the area.

 

Keep equipment a safe distance from things that can burn

  • Place your grill well away (at least 3 feet) from anything that can burn, including deck railings and overhanging branches; also keep them out from under eaves.
  • Keep portable grills a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic.
  • Keep children and pets well away from any type of equipment in use.
  • In areas where campfires are permitted, they must be at least 25 feet away from any structure and anything that can burn. Also make sure to clear away dry leaves and sticks, overhanging low branches and shrubs.

 

Use fuel and fire starters properly

  • If you use a starter fluid to ignite charcoals, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • Never use gasoline or other flammable or combustible liquids on firepits, chimineas, or campfires.
  • For electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire, make sure the extension cord you are using is designed for outdoor use.

 

If a fire breaks out, call the fire department

  • For any type of outdoor fire that can’t be quickly and effectively extinguished, call the fire department immediately for assistance.

 

While outdoor, fuel-based equipment like grills, fire pits, and campfires do present potential fire hazards, by following basic precautions and guidelines, these risks can be minimized.

With the arrival of summer and the July 4th holiday weekend just around the corner, people across the country are eager to take advantage of the easing of stay-at-home orders. As many states begin allowing for more outside activities, it’s important to recognize potential electrical hazards that exist in swimming pools and hot tubs, onboard boats, and in waters surrounding boats, marinas, and launch ramps.

 

While most people are unaware of electrical dangers posed in water environments such as electric shock drowning (ESD), each year people are injured or killed from these hazards. Electric shock drowning happens when marina or onboard electrical systems leak electric current into the water. The current then passes through the body and causes paralysis. When this happens, a person can no longer swim and ultimately drowns. 

 

In the current pandemic situation, with limited staff at marinas and people obeying social distancing protocols, the onus is on individuals to keep themselves, their loved ones, and the people who might have to rescue them out of harm’s way.

 

Check out NFPA's video below on water safety that informs the public of the dangers of electricity surrounding marinas, docks, and boatyards. 

 

 

Here are some tips for pool and boat owners, as well as swimmers:

 

Tips for swimmers

  • Never swim near a marina, dock, or boatyard.
  • While in a pool or hot tub, look out for underwater lights that are not working properly, flicker, or work intermittently.
  • If you feel a tingling sensation while in a pool, immediately stop swimming in your current direction. Try and swim in a direction where you had not felt the tingling. Exit the water as quickly as possible; avoid using metal ladders or rails. Touching metal may increase the risk of shock.

 

         Tips for pool owners

  • Have a qualified electrician periodically inspect and — where necessary — replace or upgrade the electrical devices or equipment that keep your pool or hot tub electrically safe. Have the electrician show you how to turn off all power in case of an emergency.
  • Make sure any overhead lines maintain the proper distance over a pool and other structures, such as a diving board. If you have any doubts, contact a qualified electrician or your local utility company to make sure power lines are a safe distance away.

 

Tips for boat owners

  • When heading out for a day on the water, follow all existing navigation and safety rules. Practice good seamanship and avoid becoming a boater in distress. With the current pandemic, there may be fewer staff at the marina and fewer rescue personnel available to come to your aid. 
  • Contact your local marina or boatyard in advance to learn about any local requirements in response to the pandemic that must be followed – especially if you are a transient customer. 
  • Avoid entering the water when launching or loading a boat. These areas can contain stray electrical currents in the water, possibly leading to electric shock drowning or injury from shock, including death.
  • Each year, and after any major storm that affects the boat, have the boat’s electrical system inspected by a qualified marine electrician to be sure it meets the required codes of your area, including the American Boat & Yacht Council. Make the necessary repairs if recommended.
  • Have ground fault circuit protection (GFCI and GFPE) installed on circuits supplying the boat; use only portable GFCIs or shore power cords (including “Y” adapters) that bear the proper listing mark for marine applications when using electricity near water. Test GFCIs monthly.

 

NFPA has these and additional resources for swimmers, boat and pool owners, including tip sheets, checklists, and more that can be downloaded and shared. Please visit www.nfpa.org/watersafety.

NFPA has announced Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen as the theme for Fire Prevention Week, October 4-10, 2020. NFPA’s focus on cooking fire safety comes in response to home cooking fires representing the leading cause of U.S. home fires, with nearly half (49 percent) of all home fires involving cooking equipment; unattended cooking is the leading cause of these fires.

 

While cooking continues to be a major contributor to the home fire problem, the vast majority of these fires are highly preventable. This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign works to better educate the public about where potential cooking hazards exist and basic but critical ways to prevent them.

 

This year’s focus on cooking safety is particularly timely, as the public may continue to avoid restaurants for some time and opt instead to do more cooking and entertaining at home, the potential for home cooking fires will likely increase as well.

 

Key messages around this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen” will include the following:

  • Keep a close eye on what you’re cooking; never leave cooking unattended
  • Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — at least three feet away from your stovetop.
  • Be on alert. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.

 

For more information about Fire Prevention Week and this year’s theme, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen,” along with a wealth of resources to help promote the campaign locally, visit fpw.org.

 

 

NFPA has announced Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen as the theme for Fire Prevention Week, October 4-10, 2020. NFPA’s focus on cooking fire safety comes in response to home cooking fires representing the leading cause of U.S. home fires, with nearly half (49 percent) of all home fires involving cooking equipment; unattended cooking is the leading cause of these fires.

 

While cooking continues to be a major contributor to the home fire problem, the vast majority of these fires are highly preventable. This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign works to better educate the public about where potential cooking hazards exist and basic but critical ways to prevent them.

 

This year’s focus on cooking safety is particularly timely, as the public may continue to avoid restaurants for some time and opt instead to do more cooking and entertaining at home, the potential for home cooking fires will likely increase as well.

 

Key messages around this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen” will include the following:

  • Keep a close eye on what you’re cooking; never leave cooking unattended
  • Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — at least three feet away from your stovetop.
  • Be on alert. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.

 

For more information about Fire Prevention Week and this year’s theme, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen,” along with a wealth of resources to help promote the campaign locally, visit fpw.org.

 

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