Hasbro Children’s Hospital and Rhode Island Hospital urge fire safety near grills and camp fires this Labor Day weekend
Posted Thursday, August 30, 2012
For many people, Labor Day weekend is an opportunity to have one final
outdoor celebration before cooler weather arrives. But, for some, this
also means a higher risk of accidental injury, especially when so many
people are using grills, fire pits and campfires at outdoor outings.
“Statistics show us that nearly 4,000 people, both adults and children,
are injured by outdoor grilling each year,” said Dina Morrissey, M.D.,
M.P.H., program coordinator for the Injury Prevention Center at Hasbro
Children’s Hospital. “Many of these injuries are completely preventable
by taking some basic safety precautions.”
The Injury Prevention Center offers the following tips for fire safety:
Position the grill well away from siding, deck railing, and out
from under eaves and overhanging branches.
Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play areas, and
Keep children and pets away from the grill area: declare a
three-foot "safe zone" around the grill.
Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below the
grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.
Purchase the proper starter fluid and store out of reach of
children and away from heat sources.
Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals or kindling have
already been ignited, and never use any flammable or combustible
liquid other than charcoal starter fluid to get the fire going.
Check the propane cylinder hose for leaks before using it for
the first time each year. A light soap and water solution
applied to the hose will reveal escaping propane quickly by
If you detect that your grill has a gas leak by smell or the
soapy bubble test and there is no flame:
1.) Turn off the propane tank and grill.
2.) If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before
using it again.
3.) If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.
If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the
grill and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the
Keep away from flammable material and fluids such as gasoline,
diesel fuel, kerosene, and charcoal lighter fluid or vehicles
while in use.
Do not use flammable fluids such as gasoline, alcohol, diesel
fuel, kerosene, and charcoal lighter fluid to light or relight
Do not allow children to use the fire pit. Keep children and
Do not wear flammable or loose fitting clothing, such as nylon.
Do not burn trash, leaves, paper, cardboard, or plywood. Avoid
using soft wood such as pine or cedar that likely pop and throw
sparks. Use of seasoned hardwood is suggested.
Before starting the fire, make sure that the lid will still
close to extinguish the fire in case of emergency. Do not
Before you light the fire, check the wind direction.
Keep a fire extinguisher or garden hose nearby.
Do not build a fire at a site in hazardous, dry conditions. Do
not build a fire if the campground, area, or event rules
Research whether a campground has an existing fire ring or fire
If there is not an existing fire pit, and pits are allowed, look
for a site that is at least fifteen feet away from tent walls,
shrubs, trees or other flammable objects. Also beware of
low-hanging branches overhead.
There must always be a drawn boundary between the fire and
kids. Teach children never to run inside the clear area
around the campfire, whether a fire is burning or not.
Supervise kids at all times while they're near the campfire.
Extinguishing your campfire:
Allow the wood to burn completely to ash, if possible.
Pour lots of water on the fire; drown all embers, not just the
Pour until hissing sound stops.
Stir the campfire ashes and embers with a shovel.
Scrape the sticks and logs to remove any embers.
Stir and make sure everything is wet and they are cold to the
touch. If the fire is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave.
If you do not have water, use dirt. Mix enough dirt or sand with
the embers. Continue adding and stirring until all material is
cool. REMEMBER: Do NOT bury the fire as the fire will continue
to smolder and could catch roots on fire that will eventually
get to the surface and start a wildfire.
David Harrington, M.D., director of the Rhode Island Burn Center at
Rhode Island Hospital, offered some final advice to those people who may
be making their own fire pits or camp fires this weekend. “Just as
alcohol and driving don’t mix, alcohol and fire do not go well together.
The person tending to any outdoor fire or grill should never be
intoxicated,” said Harrington. Harrington discusses grilling and fire
pit safety in this video.
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