Summer is the fun, outdoor season in Michigan. From parades and holidays to beaches and bonfires, summertime in Michigan is a true thing of beauty.
However, as much as we think of the memories summers bring, we also need to be mindful of potential fire hazards. As the sun heats up, it is important to keep major fire hazards in check so your summer fun doesn’t end on a devastating note.
Outdoor Cooking & Grilling: Keep It Tasty and Fire-Free
Summertime is synonymous with outdoor gatherings and delicious barbecues. However, improper handling of grills and cooking equipment can lead to disastrous consequences. To prevent fire incidents, follow these safety guidelines:
- Keep grills at least 10 feet away from structures, trees, and flammable materials.
- Clean grills regularly to remove grease buildup that can ignite.
- Never leave a grill unattended and keep children and pets away from the cooking area.
- Have a fire extinguisher or a bucket of sand nearby for emergencies.
If you are using a gas grill, be sure to turn off the gas supply after you finish cooking, as the fumes can ignite and start a fire as well. If you are using charcoal or woodchips, be sure to fully extinguish the embers to prevent a fire starting. Especially with the dry weather in 2023, it is important to pay attention to these small details.
Campfire & Bonfire Precautions to Prevent Fire Damage
Camping trips and bonfires are quintessential summer activities. To ensure a safe experience, take the following precautions:
- Build fires in designated fire pits or designated areas, away from dry vegetation or overhanging branches.
- Clear the surrounding area of flammable materials and keep a water source or fire extinguisher nearby.
- Never leave a fire unattended and fully extinguish it before leaving the site.
- Teach children about fire safety and supervise them around fires.
Given the weather warnings we mentioned above, it may be best to not have open fires on your property this summer. Although they can be fun, the fire damage can become swift and extend far beyond a small area due to dry brush.
Be Safe With Fireworks
Fireworks displays are a staple of summer celebrations, but they also pose significant fire risks. Consider these safety measures:
- Check local laws and regulations regarding fireworks usage and attend public displays instead of using fireworks at home.
- If using legal fireworks, follow all instructions carefully and use them in a clear, open space away from buildings and flammable materials.
- Keep a bucket of water or a hose nearby in case of accidents or fire emergencies.
- Never attempt to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks; instead, soak them in water and dispose of them properly.
Although fun, fireworks can also cause problems for pets and veterans who suffer from PTSD. Be mindful of your neighbors and even give them a heads up before shooting off your celebratory fireworks this summer.
Electrical Equipment & Lighting Can Also Start Fires
Summer often involves the use of electrical equipment and outdoor lighting. Take the following precautions to mitigate fire risks:
- Inspect electrical cords for damage before use, and replace any frayed or damaged cords.
- Do not overload electrical outlets or extension cords.
- Use outdoor-rated extension cords for outdoor lighting and ensure they are properly installed and protected from moisture.
- Turn off and unplug electrical equipment when not in use.
Be sure to keep electrical equipment away from outdoor water sources like spigots, sprinklers and pools to avoid potential electrocution as well.
Regular Home Maintenance Can Help Reduce The Risk of Fire Damage
Regular home maintenance can significantly reduce the risk of fire damage. Consider these preventive measures:
- Clean and inspect your barbecue grill, removing any grease buildup that can ignite.
- Clear leaves, debris, and flammable materials from gutters, roofs, and outdoor areas.
- Trim tree branches near power lines and ensure vegetation is well-maintained and away from electrical sources.
- Install and regularly test smoke detectors throughout your home.
To be safe, it may be best to contact a company that specializes in gutter cleaning and tree trimming rather than take on these tasks yourself. Also, summer is a good time to have your roof inspected for any potential issues.
With proper awareness and preventive measures, you can safeguard your summer against fire hazards. By practicing responsible grilling, campfire safety, and adhering to firework regulations, you can ensure a season filled with joy, warmth, and peace of mind. Stay vigilant, be proactive in fire prevention, and enjoy the summer season to the fullest, knowing you have taken the necessary steps to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your property from fire damage.