With the Fourth of July coming up this week, Director Shawn Rogers and the staff at Cherokee County EMA want to remind you to have a great time but do so while exercising extreme caution.
If you are going to be using fireworks at your home, be sure to follow a few simple safety tips
- Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper – this is a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays. Leave professional fireworks to the professionals!
- Always have an adult supervise all fireworks activities, even sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees and can cause serious burns!
- Don’t place any body part directly over a firework when lighting the fuse and back up to a safe space after lighting.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that did not fully light.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep a bucket of water or garden hose handy in case of fire.
- Light fireworks one at a time.
- Don’t carry fireworks in your pockets or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- After fireworks have finished burning, douse the used device in water to prevent trash fires.
The Fourth of July also means people will be firing up the grill. Here are a few things to keep in mind while grilling this summer
- Keep your grill at least 10 feet away from your house.Farther is even better. This includes portions attached to your house like carports, garages and porches. Grills should not be used underneath wooden overhangs either, as the fire could flare up into the structure above. This applies to both charcoal and gas grills.
- Clean your grill regularly.If you allow grease and fat to build up on your grill, they provide more fuel for a fire. Grease is a major source of flare ups.
- Check for gas leaks.You can make sure no gas is leaking from your gas grill by making a solution of half liquid dish soap and half water and rubbing it on the hoses and connections. Then, turn the gas on (with the grill lid open.) If the soap forms large bubbles, that’s a sign that the hoses have tiny holes or that the connections are not tight enough.
- Keep decorations away from your grill. Decorations like hanging baskets, pillows and umbrellas look pretty AND provide fuel for a fire. To make matters worse, today’s decor is mostly made of artificial fibers that burn fast and hot, making this tip even more important.
- Keep a spray bottle of water handy.That way, if you have a minor flare-up you can spray it with the water to instantly calm it. The bonus of this tip is that water won’t harm your food, so dinner won’t be ruined!
- Keep a fire extinguisher within a couple steps of your grill.And KNOW HOW TO USE IT. If you are unsure how to use the extinguisher, don’t waste time fiddling with it before calling 911. Firefighters say many fire deaths occur when people try to fight a fire themselves instead of calling for expert help and letting the fire department do its job.
- Turn on the gas while your grill lid is closed. NEVER do this. It causes gas to build up inside your grill, and when you do light it and open it, a fireball can explode in your face.
- Leave a grill unattended.Fires double in size every minute. Plan ahead so that all of your other food prep chores are done and you can focus on grilling.
- Overload your grill with food.This applies especially fatty meats. The basic reason for this tip is that if too much fat drips on the flames at once, it can cause a large flare-up that could light nearby things on fire.
- Use a grill indoors. People often think it will be safe to use a grill, especially a small one, indoors. NOT TRUE. In addition to the fire hazard, grills release carbon monoxide, the deadly colorless, odorless gas. That gas needs to vent in fresh air or it can kill you, your family and pets.
We urge everyone to have a great Fourth of July on Weiss Lake and be safe.