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Celebrating summer safely: Tips on staying safe when using fireworks and barbecue grills

Now is the time of year when everyone wants to be outside. As we celebrate Independence Day, it’s a good time for some safety reminders.

Around the Fourth of July, celebrations typically involve fireworks and barbecue grills. On Health Happens, the weekly Facebook Live show from 9Heatlh, we talked with Captain Joe Passmore with West Metro Fire Rescue about staying safe when using fireworks and barbecue grills on the fourth of July.

He says there’s a very important thing to remember, certain fireworks are considered illegal in our state, “Fireworks that either explode, like firecrackers, or they’re actually propelled off the ground.”

Colorado does classify some fireworks as permissible and they’re allowed in the state, but you need to check with your city as some cities don’t allow any fireworks of any kind, including things like sparklers. You can look up the rules for Colorado and your city specifically by clicking here.

For safety, it’s probably best to leave the fireworks up to the professionals but if you insist on lighting fireworks yourself, again, make sure you buy the legal ones and follow these safety tips:

  • Light only one firework at a time
  • Have a bucket of water and a fire extinguisher nearby
  • Don’t give any fireworks to children, including sparklers, which heat up to extremely high temperatures
  • Never light fireworks in a container that can explode and produce flying fragments
  • Never try to relight or handle fireworks that don’t go off or malfunction

Fireworks aren’t the only thing that can cause injuries. Every year thousands are also injured when using a barbecue. The National Fire Protection Association says that outdoor grilling sends an average of 19,000 people per year to the emergency room and causes an average of over 10,000 home fires every year. Gas grills are more likely to cause home fires than charcoal grills. When using a barbecue grill, follow these safety tips:

  • Grill outside and away from structures – not on a terrace, patio, balcony, or porch
  • Pay attention to overhanging tree branches and don’t set up your grill to close to them
  • Make sure your grill is stable, on a flat surface and can’t be tipped over
  • Keep your grill clean and regularly remove grease or fat buildup. Passmore says the easiest way to clean the grill is to put the grates in a bucket of soapy water and scrub them a couple of times a year and use a shop vac to vacuum out the inside of the grill.
  • Check propane tanks for leaks by applying a light soap and water solution to the hose and turning on the gas. If there’s a leak the solution will bubble.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher or a bucket of sand nearby, don’t use water to put out a grease fire

To watch the entire Health Happens episode from 9Health, click here.

9Health will have several health fairs this fall, check the website in August to find one near you.

9Health is a 501c-3 community non-profit empowering people to put health in their own hands by providing tools such as preventive health screenings, evidence-based, objective health education and eTools and resources for every day in your health journey.