Outdoor Grilling and Fireworks Safety 

Leave Fireworks to the Professionals

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that the use and handling of all fireworks imagefireworks be left to the professionals.  Although summertime celebrations involving fireworks and fireworks displays are thrilling and inspiring, according to the NFPA, each summer thousands of individuals are injured by fireworks.  

NFPA classifies all fireworks sold legally in the U.S. as Consumer Fireworks.  Many burns from these legal fireworks are severe enough to be treated by an emergency department.   In 2007, nine out of ten emergency department visits were the result of fireworks considered legal for sale. 

Although frequently used by children, even firecrackers and sparklers should not be used by amateurs. They are a hazard for severe, even third degree burn injuries.  Sparklers can reach temperatures of 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, almost a thousand degrees hotter than the 212 degrees Fahrenheit boiling point of water.  

“Dud” fireworks may appear to be unused but they should not be handled.   People watching the show should never pick up dangerous duds after professional fireworks displays. 

Outdoor Grill Safety and Maintenance 

  • Never leave grills unattended.
  • Always wear protective mitts with long cuffs when reaching food at the back of large grills. 
  • Use long handled utensils made of fire resistant materials.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
  • Regularly clean grill trays of grease and fat buildup

The NFPA reports that fire departments answer an average of 7,900 home fires involving grills, grilling imagehibachis or barbecues each year, including 5,000 outside fires and 2,900 structure fires.  Thirty three percent (33%) of home grill structure files begin on an outside balcony or unenclosed porch.

Grill safety precautions typically depend on the type of grill being used.  Charcoal grills are the most common type of grill used.  They should be cleaned regularly, especially at the beginning of the grill season.  Be certain to use charcoal starter fluid, and not cigarette lighter fluid to get the coals hot.  Gasoline or lighter fluid was a factor in about one-fourth of the charcoal or wood burning grill burns.  When finished grilling, allow the coals to cool completely before disposing in a metal container.

When using a Propane grill, remember roughly one-third of all gas grill injuries happen while lighting the grill.  If you smell gas while cooking, stop grilling and get away from the grill.  Call the fire department for help immediately.  Further, propane grills should be checked for gas leaking before using, particularly if the propane grill has not been used recently.  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to detect a leak in the hose.  If there is a leak present have the grill serviced by a professional.

Protecting Children and Pets from Fire Injury

According to the NFPA, children under five years accounted for roughly one-fourth of grill burns.  Typically these were contact rather than flame burns.  To prevent children from being burned, keep them well away from where food is being grilled.   Pets should be on a leash or left inside during grilling, as they may be drawn to the smell of cooking and become a fire hazard.

Never allow children to pick up duds from professional fireworks displays.  Duds may still be active and ignite, causing a serious burn injury.