For Immediate Release: July 2, 2012
State Fire Marshal Encourages Residents to Practice Summer Safety
RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Wayne Goodwin wants North Carolinians to enjoy the upcoming holiday and the rest of summer by remaining alert about outdoor dangers.
"July is a time for outdoor fun. Whether you’re by the pool, on your patio, or staying around your neighborhood, you should stay alert and always keep safety in mind," said Goodwin.
Last year in North Carolina, fire departments responded to more than 111 fireworks-related calls with an estimated total of $225,000 worth of property damage. Nationally, an average of more than 200 people-a-day go to emergency rooms with fireworks-related injuries during the month surrounding July 4, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Many people falsely believe that because sparklers and similar fireworks are legal and readily available, they are safe. Too often, it’s small consumer fireworks that start fires or cause serious burn injuries. A simple, handheld sparkler can burn at a temperature of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. To put that into perspective, water boils at 212 degrees, a cake bakes at 350 degrees and wood burns at 575 degrees.
Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Goodwin encourages North Carolinians to:
- Only attend public fireworks displays performed by trained and permitted professionals.
- After the display, do not pick up or touch leftover fireworks because they may still be active.
While July is peak grilling season, it is also the peak month for grill fires. More than half of home grill structure fires begin on either a courtyard terrace or patio, or an exterior balcony or open porch, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Goodwin advises residents to practice the following grilling safety tips:
- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
- The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
- Never leave your grill unattended.
- Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
- If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.
An estimated 400 children age 14 and younger drown in swimming pools and spas each year across the U.S. A Consumer Product Safety Commission study found that 2,000 children are treated annually in hospital emergency rooms for submersion injuries sustained in familiar surroundings, with a majority of those victims being supervised by one or both parents at the time of the accident.
Goodwin reminds parents and caregivers to Lock, Look and Learn:
- LOCK – Homeowners should put up a fence that is at least 4-feet high around all sides of a pool or spa with a locking gate that closes and latches by itself. Homeowners should cover and lock pools and spas when they are not using them, and also remove or lock ladders to above-ground pools and spas when not in use.
- LOOK – Adults and caregivers must always watch children — whether the children know how to swim or not — when kids are in or near water without being distracted by phone calls, text messages, reading or talking to others. If a child is missing, look in the water first.
- LEARN – Children and adults should know how to swim. Adults should learn how to use rescue equipment and correctly choose and use U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets. Caregivers should learn adult and infant CPR and teach children to never swim alone or swim near pool or spa drains.
For more detailed information about the Safe Kids Lock, Look and Learn program, go to http://www.safekids.org/parents/ and select the Water Safety Guide.