Wednesday, August 5, 2015

9 summer fire safety tips for outdoor fun

If your kids are like my kids, they will eat practically anything you throw on a grill. Hello, veggie kabobs! Cooking (and eating) outdoors is one of summer's greatest pleasures—you just want to keep some key summer outdoor fire safety tips in mind. As ambassadors for Kidde, Max and I are here to share the biggies with you:

Grilling at home

Three words: Clean the grill
Given that my husband is our house grillmaster, and given his—shall we say—lack of interest in all things involving cleaning, our grill buildup gets pretty gross as the summer months go by. Not. Good. One important safety tip from the National Fire Protection Association is to regularly remove grease and fat buildup from grills and the tray below; ideally, you do so after each use. Sometimes, if you ask around you can find a local handyman who specializes in cleaning grills. We hired someone to do ours a couple of years ago, and our grill looked (and worked!) like new.

Dress right
Avoid clothing with apron strings or hanging frills (not an issue for most husbands), recommends Kidde, and use flame-retardant mitts when adjusting hot vents.

Keep the kids away
You want a three-foot safe zone around both grills and campfires, per the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Store that spare in a smart place
Never store a spare gas container under or near the grill or indoors—it's a fire hazard. You also want to avoid keeping a filled container in a hot car or trunk, as heat will cause the gas pressure to increase which could open the relief valve and allow gas to escape.

And one thing you so do not want to do…
…ever ever ever is operate a grill indoors or in a garage. Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced anytime fuel is burned, and you do not want to risk CO poisoning. Every year, some 430 people die in the U.S. from accidental CO poisoning, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also be sure to keep the grill away from siding and deck rails, too.

Building fires when you're camping

Four out of five forest fires are started by people, per the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service. But, as Smokey Bear will readily note, only you can prevent wildfires. Check out these campfire tips, courtesy of Kidde and other pros:

Check on restrictions
Before you even think about starting a campfire, ask rangers or the campground office about restrictions, especially during the arid months of summer when vegetation can run dry.

When you start a campfire…
Do not use gasoline. Ever. Also, build campfires at least 15 feet away from tent walls, shrubs and other materials that burn, per FEMA.

Play it safe inside the tent
Use only battery-operated camping equipment including flashlights and lanterns. Avoid liquid-filled heaters or lanterns, matches, candles, open flames or a BBQ grill as they can produce deadly CO.

Keep dirt and/or water handy
You should extinguish the campfire before you snuggle into your sleeping bag. Use a fire extinguisher when a fire is small and contained, and only after the park ranger has been notified of the fire. Good to pack with your camping gear: a multi-purpose extinguisher that's not too heavy to handle, like this Kidde one.  

Have a great, safe summer!

For more information, check out: 

Kidde on Facebook
@KiddeSafety on Twitter
@kiddefiresafety on Instagram

This post is one in a series sponsored by Kidde, for whom I am a compensated ambassador. 

Image source: Flickr/philippa mckinlay


  1. I'm going to need a longer stick for roasting marshmallows.

  2. Thanks for reminding people about not using the grill in the garage. It seems like every time there is a storm or other disaster, I'll see photos of people doing that, and it makes me queasy to think about how they can survive the storm and potentially die or burn their house down in the aftermath...


Thanks for sharing!

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