With the stretch of warm weather expected in the coming weeks, here are a few tips for enjoying the heat safely. Have fun, but remember to stay safe!
Reduce the chance of outdoor fires around your home and yard:
- Carelessly discarded cigarettes and other smoking materials can easily start a fire in dry conditions. Douse smoking materials in water before tossing out. Make sure proper disposal canisters are available in areas where smoking is allowed.
- Remove long grass, weeds or anything that can burn from around buildings. This includes limbs that touch buildings or hang near the roof.
- The risk of mulch fires is more common than one might expect. When possible, keep beauty beds moist. Provide a minimum of 18-inch clearance between landscaping mulch beds and combustible materials.
Grill, fire pit and campfire safety:
- Keep a three-foot child and pet safety zone around your grill and fire pit.
- Only use your grill outside on a non-combustible surface and at least 10 feet away from siding, deck rails and open doors or windows.
- Keep an eye on your grill, fire pit or patio torches – never leave them unattended.
- When finished, turn off both the grill and the propane cylinder. Place coals in a metal can with a lid once they have cooled. Clean your grill after each use – this will help remove excess grease.
- Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning – never take a smoldering or lit grill into a tent, caravan, or cabin. Even if you have finished cooking, the grill should remain outside as it will still give off fumes for some hours after use.
- Ensure your boat has a working smoke alarm. Test alarms monthly.
- Have a U.S. Coast Guard approved fire extinguisher on board and know how to use it. Mount the extinguisher near an exit to prevent being trapped.
- Dispose of oily rags in a metal container with a tight-fitting lid.
- Fuel portable tanks on the dock, not on your vessel.
- State law requires personal flotation devices for each person aboard a vessel.
- Never swim in or near marinas, docks or boatyards.
- Have your boat inspected by a certified electrician.
- Boats with AC systems should have isolation transformers or equipment leakage circuit interrupter protection.
- Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning while boating:
- Gas vapors will accumulate in low spots – before fueling, close all hatches, compartments and covers. After fueling, open everything up and ventilate.
- Swim and play away from areas where engines vent their exhaust.
- Educate all passengers about the signs and symptoms of CO poisoning (irritated eyes, headache, nausea, dizziness).
- Never block exhaust outlets. Blocking outlets can cause CO to build up in the cabin and cockpit areas – even when hatches, windows, portholes, and doors are closed.
- Dock, beach, or anchor at least 20-feet away from the nearest boat that is running a generator or engine. Exhaust from a nearby vessel can send CO into the cabin and cockpit of a boat.
- The safest decision may be to not enter the water. Think about the risks when swimming, boating, inner tubing, or rafting in rivers due to dangers from currents, logs, jams, and cold temperatures.
- Wear a lifejacket. Infants and children should always wear lifejackets when in or near open water. Air filled or foam toys, are not a substitute for wearing a U.S. Coast Guard approved lifejacket.
- Learn to swim, including water safety and survival skills. Learn to float and tread water for at least 10 minutes. It’s good to improve skills in a pool before hitting open water.
- Drowning often happens when inexperienced or weaker swimmers try to keep up with more experienced ones. Have conversations with your children and teens about swimming risks.
- Swim where there’s a lifeguard when possible.
- Supervise children in or near water. Always stay within touching distance of young children.
- Do not use alcohol or drugs during water activities.
- Learn first aid and CPR.