NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - The summer months are a time when families enjoy a variety of outdoor activities; however, it’s also a time when barbecue grills and fireworks can cause devastating residential fires and serious injuries. According to the United States Fire Administration, each year almost 5,000 Americans are injured by charcoal/wood-burning and propane grill fires. Additionally, nearly 9,000 people are injured by fireworks annually.
Children under 15 years of age account for 39 percent of the estimated fireworks injuries. In 2009, 67 percent of fireworks injuries occurred between June 19 and July 19.
Statistics show the majority of grill fires on residential properties occur during a four-month period: May through August. In addition, on Independence Day (July 4), far more U.S. fires are reported than any day of the year, with fireworks accounting for more than 22,000 fires in 2008.
Fireworks may cause serious injuries, including devastating burns. In fact, fireworks send 3,000 children under the age of 15 to emergency rooms each year in the U.S. The National Fire Protection Agency reports that sparklers, which are typically viewed by parents as relatively harmless fireworks for children, cause serious burn injuries, accounting for one-third of the injuries to children under age five.
Ensure that this summer is a safe one for your family. Safe Kids Middlesex County urges parents to practice these safety tips recommended by the United States Fire Administration to reduce the risk of a residential fire or a trip to the emergency room:
• The best way to enjoy fireworks is to visit public fireworks displays hosted by professionals who know how to safely handle fireworks.
• If you plan to use fireworks, make sure they are legal in your area.
• Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass.
• Always have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby. Know how to operate the fire extinguisher properly.
• Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks.
• Stand several feet away from lit fireworks. If a devise does not go off, do not stand over it to investigate it. Put it out with water and dispose of it.
• Closely supervise children around fireworks at all times.
• Only use the grill outdoors. Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings, out from under eaves and overhanging branches and a safe distance from lawn games, play areas, and foot traffic.
• Keep children and pets away from the grill area by declaring a 3-foot "kid-free zone" around the grill.
• Be careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire because flames can flashback up into the container and explode.
• Do not wear loose clothing while cooking at a grill.
• When cooking food, use long-handled grilling tools to give plenty of clearance from heat and flames. Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below the grill so it cannot be ignited when the grill is hot.
• Keep all matches and lighters away from children. Teach children to report any loose matches or lighters to an adult immediately. Supervise children around outdoor grills.
• Dispose of hot coals properly - douse them with plenty of water, and stir them to ensure that the fire is out. Never place them in plastic, paper or wooden containers.
• If you smell gas while cooking on a propane gas grill, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the grill.
• Never store propane cylinders in buildings or garages. If you store a gas grill inside during the winter, disconnect the cylinder and leave it outside.
For more information about summer fire safety, call Safe Kids Middlesex County at (732) 418-8026 or visit www.safekids.org
Safe Kids Middlesex County works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children ages one to 14. Its members include injury prevention advocates from local and state government, civic organizations, businesses and health care organizations.
Safe Kids Middlesex County is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Middlesex County was founded in 2003 and is led by the Level One Trauma Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH).
For a referral to a physician affiliated with RWJUH, please call 1-888-MD-RWJUH.
About Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) is a 965-bed academic medical center with campuses in New Brunswick and Somerville, NJ. Its Centers of Excellence include cardiovascular care from minimally invasive heart surgery to transplantation, cancer care, stroke care, neuroscience, joint replacement, and women’s and children’s care including The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (www.bmsch.org). As the flagship Cancer Hospital of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and the principal teaching hospital of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, RWJUH is an innovative leader in advancing state-of-the-art care. A Level 1 Trauma Center and the only Pediatric Trauma Center in the state, RWJUH’s New Brunswick campus serves as a national resource in its ground-breaking approaches to emergency preparedness.
RWJUH has been ranked among the best hospitals in America by U.S. News & World Report seven times and has been selected by the publication as a high performing hospital in numerous specialties. The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital has been ranked among the best hospitals in America by U.S. News & World Report for three consecutive years.
Both the New Brunswick and Somerset campuses have earned significant national recognition for clinical quality and patient safety, including the prestigious Magnet® Award for Nursing Excellence, an “A” patient safety rating from the Leapfrog Group and “Most Wired” designation by Hospitals and Health Networks Magazine. The Joint Commission and the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services have designated the New Brunswick Campus as a Comprehensive Stroke Center and the Somerset Campus as a Primary Stroke Center.
The American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer has rated RWJUH New Brunswick among the nation’s best comprehensive cancer centers and designated the Steeplechase Cancer Center at RWJ Somerset as a Comprehensive Community Cancer Center. The Joint Surgery Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset has earned the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for total knee and total hip replacement surgery.