Public Education

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Spring Safety Tips

Warmer weather is finally here and with that more and more people start to enjoy the great outdoors. You may want to enjoy a nice fire at night with your friends and family. You may want to get out and do some yard maintenance or you may want to finally start tackling reducing clutter inside your homes and start knocking out that "honey-do-list".

Spring time also means families and especially kids get to play outside. Here are some helpful tips to keep you and your family safe this Spring season!

Grill Safety

Fire is unavoidable when it comes to preparing the perfect kabob or rack of ribs on the grill, which means you’ve got some inherent risks right from the get-go. In fact, the NFPA reports that an average of 8,900 home fires are caused by grilling each year. Here are some fire safety tips for the grill:

  • While the meat is marinating, be sure to check each potentially problematic point of the grill including the propane tank, the hose, and all connecting points.

  • Charcoal should be soaked with charcoal starter fluid only, so don’t let the pyro-happy Boy Scout in your family go anywhere near the grill with a container of lighter fluid, no matter how cool he swears it will be!

  • Make sure the grill is clean—failing to clean the grill before and after use is a contributing factor in nearly 20% of all grill structure fires.

  • Make sure the grill is set up in an open, outdoor area with nothing flammable (plants, paper products, etc.) nearby. That also includes vinyl siding on homes. Having a grill close to vinyl siding will cause significant damage to your home.

Outdoor Fire Pits

The necessary safety precautions for an outdoor fire pit are much the same as for a grill, plus a few others:

  • Never leave young children unattended near a fire in the pit.

  • Fill a bucket with water and set it next to the pit before you even begin building the fire or have a garden hose handy.

  • Avoid throwing leaves, pine cones, pine needles and paper into the fire. They catch fire quickly and can result in dangerous floating embers.

  • Check the weather ahead of time. If high winds are expected, it's best to just wait to set a fire as the winds can carry burning embers to dry areas and start secondary fires.

Smoke Alarms

You knew this one was coming, right? The batteries should be changed once a year anyway, so just go ahead and roll it into your spring cleaning ritual. As the spring and summer days progress, don’t forget to test the smoke alarms (there should be at least one on every floor of the house) each month.

Dryer Safety

We often forget about our dryers and the hazards that can be associated with them. That's why we wanted to include them. Keep in mind that the leading cause of clothes dryer-related fires is a failure to keep them clean. Scooping out the lint basket takes all of about 12 seconds, so be sure to clear it out every time you throw a load in. The NFPA also recommends cleaning out the vent pipe at least once a year, so you might as well add that to the spring cleaning list, too.