Cooking outdoors — in parks, campgrounds and backyards — is an enjoyable summer pastime. Yet, while barbeques provide a fun and casual dining experience, they also provide the ideal condition for a costly mishap. Barbeque grills appear to be harmless, but misuse and carelessness results in thousands of injuries each year. While we’re anxious to fire up the grill, it’s important to remember a few safety tips.
· Always cook in a well-ventilated area with good lighting.
· Keep your grill or firepit well away from tents, tree limbs, bushes and dry leaves.
· Keep your grill off wooden decks and away from children’s play areas.
· Use the proper method to start the fire — refer to the instructions on starter fluid labels.
· Be careful when using lighter fluid; don’t add fluid to an already lit fire.
· Don’t wear loose clothing that could easily catch fire.
· Supervise children around outdoor grills.
· Never leave a fire unattended and be extra careful on windy days.
· Dispose of charcoal and embers properly — drench the embers with water and then smother them with dirt; place coals in a proper can for disposal.
· Never place cooked food on the same platter that held raw food.
According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), in 2007, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 9,800 people for fireworks related injuries; 56 percent of 2007 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 36 percent were to the head. The risk of fireworks injury was two-and-a-half times as high for children ages 5-9 or 10-14. On Independence Day in a typical year, more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for half of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.
Within the Colorado Springs city limits, it is illegal to ignite fireworks of any kind. If you are outside the city limits, please adhere to the following tips from the National Council on Fireworks Safety to ensure a safe holiday weekend:
· Observe local laws.
· Buy fireworks from reliable sources.
· Always follow label directions and use common sense.
· Ignite fireworks outdoors and away from buildings and vehicles; keep children and pets at a safe distance.
· Light one firework at a time; never reignite malfunctioning fireworks.
· Never throw fireworks at another person or shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
· Never experiment or attempt to make your own fireworks.
· Always wear eye protection while launching fireworks.
· Keep a bucket of water handy.
· Dispose of fireworks by soaking them in water before placing them in a trashcan.
The best way to enjoy fireworks on the Fourth of July is to experience one of the great fireworks displays around town from the following locations: Fort Carson and the Air Force Academy. Have a safe and happy Fourth of July.