There’s really nothing more American than barbecue and Independence Day. Although this day is full of fun, it’s also full of dangers to your tenants and properties. Typically an outdoor pursuit, grilling can still present a fire hazard to the home and of course, fireworks can shoot off in any direction, making for an increased risk of property fires. Let’s talk about safety tips during the Fourth of July while still allowing the celebrations to continue.

Fourth of July Facts

  • According to the NFPA, almost 19,500 fires were caused by fireworks in 2018, causing 5 deaths, 46 civilian injuries, and $105 Million in direct property damage.
  • In 2018, 9,100 people were treated for fireworks-related injuries in U.S. hospital emergency rooms.
  • The USFA reports that more fires are reported on July 4th than on any other day of the year.
  • About 45 percent of all fireworks injuries happen to children under 15, states the USFA.
  • Sparklers account for nearly one-quarter of fireworks injuries and burn at 1,200 degrees—hot enough to cause third-degree burns, the NFPA said.
  • Comparative boiling/burning temperatures of other materials:
    • Water boils at 212 degrees.
    • Wood burns at 575 degrees.
    • Glass melts at 900 degrees.

Source: United States Fire Administration (USFA) & National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Firework Safety

  • Fireworks always require adult supervision. If you are at an event where fireworks are present, keep a close eye on little ones. To avoid injuries, view a professional fireworks display instead of creating your own show. Leave the fireworks to the experts.
  • Glow sticks are a fun, safe alternative to sparklers.
  • Have an outdoor movie night. Set up a screen or use the side of the house as the screen and don’t forget the bug spray!
  • Bring on the red, white, and blue silly string, a safer way for kids to battle.
  • Throw a birthday party for the USA and bake a cake or apple pie. Top it off with ice cream for a special treat.

Grilling Safety

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using your grill.
  • Make sure your grill is stable and won’t tip over.
  • Keep barbecues 3 feet or more from anything combustible, such as siding or deck rails.
  • Keep young children and pets away from barbecues.
  • Place used coals from your grill in a metal can when cool.
  • Clean the grill after each use to prevent grease fires.
  • Never leave your grill or any open flame or torch unattended.

Smoke Detectors & Fire Extinguishers

Smoke Detectors

  • Install a working smoke detector on each level of the home and near sleeping areas.
  • When the detector chirps, it usually needs a new battery.
  • Replace batteries at least twice a year – the switch to and from Daylight Savings is a good time to do this.

Fire Extinguishers

  • Always have a working fire extinguisher in your kitchen.
  • There are five classes of extinguishers – A, B, C, D, & K:
    • A: Ordinary materials – wood and paper
    • B: Flammable liquids
    • C: Electrical Fires
    • D: Metals
    • K: Cooking oils
    • ABC or BC: Multi-purpose/combination
  • A typical extinguisher contains about 10 seconds of extinguishing power—don’t waste it!
  • Have an escape plan ready in the event of an uncontrollable fire.

We hope you have a safe, relaxing Fourth of July with these safety tips.