We are especially cognizant of fire prevention at Advocate Brokerage, since our own Jeffrey Koslowsky and Glenn Binday are long-time volunteers with the Scarsdale Fire Department.
Nothing is better than an outdoor barbecue. Yet, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that local fire departments in the United States respond to an average of 8,200 grilling-related fires every year.
Propane grills are particularly dangerous if not used correctly. If you are heating up the grill for the first time in the summer, first check the gas tank hose for leaks. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. If there is a propane leak, bubbles will form on the hose.
If you smell gas when you turn the grill on, shut it down immediately and have it serviced. Likewise, if you suddenly smell gas when you are cooking, get away from it immediately and call the fire department.
For charcoal grills, consider using a charcoal chimney starter, which allows you to use newspaper as a fuel. When using a starter fluid, never add it or any other flammable liquids directly on the fire. Keep charcoal fluid out of reach of children and away from other sources of heat. After grilling, let the coals cool down completely and dispose of them in a metal container.
Place both propane and gas grills well away from your home, deck railings and overhanging branches. When grilling, don’t wear lose clothing that may catch fire.
Another summer fire risk is caused by fireworks. According to the NFPA, fireworks are responsible for an estimated 17,800 reported fires annually. In 2011, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 9,600 people for fireworks-related injuries. Every 4th of July, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks are responsible for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause of fire.
Finally, summer means that the washing machine and dryer are doing double duty with all those towels used by the pool or at the beach. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that clothes dryers are responsible for approximately 15,000 home fires and 10 deaths each year.
It is imperative that the lint filter, back of the dryer and venting system are cleaned on a regular basis. Consider replacing plastic or vinyl vent hoses with a rigid or flexible metal venting system. Don’t put foam-backed rugs or athletic shoes into the dryer.
Summer is a good time to sit down with your insurance agent to make sure that your family and home are well protected not only from fire, but also from theft as many homes are burglarized when families go on vacation. Consider installing an alarm system or have a light programmed to go on when it gets dark. If you are going away, have a neighbor pick up your mail and cancel your newspaper delivery.
Update your homeowners insurance and take photos of all your valuables. Many people who suffered as the result of Superstorm Sandy would have benefited from having a complete review of all their insurance policies. The National Weather Service predicts that we may be in for another bad hurricane season so now is the time to make sure that your family and your home are protected.
Summer is a time for making memories. May sure that all of yours are good ones.