SUMMER FIRE SAFETY
Here comes summer, school is out, vacations are on, swimming pools are open and the beaches are crowded. “Fire safety” is but a part of the watch for the next several months. Tempting as it may be, to set-off your personal display; fireworks should be left to the professional pyrotechnics. Instead of telling you what not to do, I will tell you what I suggest you do, go to a professional display, period. Fireworks burn at high temperatures and can cause skin burns that will heal slowly, not to mention the pain. Flaming fireworks can ignite buildings, roof-tops, curtilage and people. Ignited firework temperatures can reach several thousand degrees.
Barbeque and grilling safety, as was covered in last month’s edition, will be a big concern to fire service personnel in suburban and urban settings. Know you grill, its limitations and the manufacturer’s safety recommendations.
Swimming hazards are another of the awareness of which we must be vigilant. Drownings as well as other pool accidents will be on the news all-to-frequently. I experienced a personal incident years ago. My daughter, age 3, nearly drowned in our backyard pool. When I retrieved her limp body, she had stopped breathing, etc. A call to 9-1-1 was placed and I began C.P.R. on her lifeless little body. She survived the ordeal, thankfully for my CPR training, Medic One and Hershey Medical Center. Do you need C.P.R. training [never had it] or a refresher course; get it now. Contact your local fire department or the American Red Cross chapter nearest you. When you need it there’s no time to wish you had learned it. And always have a “watcher” at pool-side who does nothing but watch the pool occupants, as a life guard would.
With summer comes hot humid weather. If you have central air, have it serviced by a qualified person. If you have portable, window-type AC units be certain the house electrical circuit is sufficient to supply the required electricity. Do not use extension cords. If the AC’s cord is not long enough to reach the outlet, have a qualified electrician move the electrical receptacle closer to where the AC is installed.
Camping and campfire safety go hand-in-hand whether used for lighting, cooking or heat when the ambient temperature drops. When preparing your cook-site, choose it away from the immediate area of your shelter or other persons, camper, and tents. Create your fire pit, surround it with mounds of dirt or rocks; not too large in diameter. Choose your fuel wisely. The use of charcoal and or dried wood will be sufficient to cook. Use a small amount of fuel to determine how your fire is going to burn and how fast the fuel will be consumed before adding more fuel. When your cooking is complete or the use of the fire is no longer needed, be sure to extinguish it with water or dirt. Always keep a watch on the fire site to be sure the fire is out and the fire-pit is cool. Remember you have intentionally caused a fire, you are responsible for its care and containment.
Ed Knight is a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI/CFII) and a fire instructor; a retired municipal assistant fire marshal, forensic investigator having investigated several thousand fires and testified over 60 times throughout the United States and several foreign countries. He is Chairman of the Live Burn Facility, Pequea Lane, Lancaster, PA.