4 min read
Keep your summer cool with fire prevention.
You know when summer is back. Grills let out sweet barbecue smoke. Lawnmowers hum over thirsty lawns. The kids practically live at the pool.
Summer isn’t all fun and belly flops, though. High temperatures and dry conditions create fire hazards during this season.
Here’s your guides to summer fire prevention, whether you’re hosting a cookout, lighting fireworks, or using lawn care equipment.
5 Tips to Grill With Care
1. Don’t use barbecues, grills, or smokers inside.
2. Keep these cooking devices away from:
Exterior roof overhangs
3. Make sure someone is always watching the grill. Keep a bucket of water, a fire extinguisher, or a working hose within easy reach.
4. If you’re using a charcoal grill, don’t dispose of coals before they cool down.
5. Don’t let kids or animals within three feet of the grill.
Fireworks Shouldn’t Lead to Fires
Your next fire prevention step is easy: look out for Red Flag Warnings.
A Red Flag Warning, also known as a Fire Weather Watch, tells you conditions are dry and likely to cause fires. You shouldn’t use fuel or fire when this warning is in effect.
When conditions aren’t too dry, only purchase and use legal fireworks. They’ll have labels and instructions on them. If they don't, they are either professional grade or illegally manufactured.
Don’t let kids use fireworks, and designate an adult to light fireworks. Make sure this person stays sober because alcohol, fire, and explosions don’t mix well.
When you light fireworks that don’t go off, here’s what you should do:
- Douse them with water.
- Leave them alone for 20 or more minutes. Large fireworks may need an overnight soak.
- Wrap the duds in plastic or put them in plastic bags.
- Throw duds in the trash after you follow these steps.
Using and Storing Lawn Care Equipment
Take these fire prevention steps in your yard before the hot conditions arrive:
- Trim low-hanging tree limbs.
- Clear overgrown brush.
- Get rid of dry leaves.
- Clear all dry grass from the deck (bottom) of your mower.
The limbs, brush, and leaves could accelerate fires. Dry grass suffocates a mower and could lead to ventilation issues and fires.
Keep these tips in mind when you mow your lawn:
- Don’t mow on dry, windy days.
- Remove rocks from the yard. They could hit the mower blade and create sparks.
- Don’t fill a hot mower with gas.
Consider putting a shed in your backyard as an extra fire prevention measure. That way, your mower and gas cans will be stored a safe distance away from the house.
Using and Maintaining Your Fire Extinguisher
Unfortunately, these fire prevention steps won’t work 100% of the time. That’s why you need the right kind of fire extinguisher. You should know how to use it, too.
Fire extinguishers are divided into five categories for different classes of fires:
- A - combustible materials like wood or fabric
- B - flammable liquids like gas or kerosene
- C - electrical fires
- D - flammable metals
- K - vegetable oils or animal fats, usually as in a commercial deep fryer
Combination fire extinguishers can be used on Class A, B, and C fires.
The U.S. Fire Administration has a four-step guide to fire extinguisher use called PASS:
- Pull the pin after pointing the extinguisher away from you.
- Aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
- Squeeze the lever to activate the fire extinguisher.
- Sweep the extinguisher in a side-to-side motion to cover the base of the fire.
Fire extinguisher maintenance includes:
- Inspecting visually to make sure there is no damage, denting, or rust.
- Cleaning the exterior because dirty equipment can be difficult to operate.
- Checking the pressure to make sure it's in the green or “full” section. If it isn’t, replace or service your fire extinguisher.
- Avoiding discharging to check pressure. Pressure loss could cause the extinguisher to not work properly.
- Replacing the extinguisher completely based on what the owner's manual recommends.
Why wait for summer? Home insurance could help you protect your home through every season!