As July 4th fast approaches, NFPA offers critical fire and electrical safety reminders about fireworks, grilling, swimming and boating

June 25, 2018 – With the Fourth of July fast approaching and the summer months upon us, indulging in barbecues, holiday parties and swimming often top the list of activities to enjoy during the summer season. To help everyone do so safely, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is reminding people about potential summer fire and electrical hazards, and providing tips and recommendations to minimize them.

“By knowing where potential fire and electrical hazards exist during the summer months and taking the needed steps to prevent them, people can enjoy activities such as grilling, swimming and celebrating the Fourth of July while keeping their families, guests and homes safe,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of NFPA’s Outreach and Advocacy Division.

Following are NFPA’s summer-related safety statistics and tips:

Fireworks

NFPA recommends that revelers refrain from using consumer fireworks and attend public fireworks displays put on by trained professionals.

Fireworks annually cause devastating burns, injuries, fires, and even death, making them too dangerous to be used safely by consumers. On Independence Day in a typical year, fireworks account for nearly half of all reported U.S. fires, more than any other cause of fire.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) 2017 Fireworks Annual Report, fireworks were involved in an estimated 11,100 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during calendar year 2016. There were an estimated 900 emergency department-treated injuries associated with sparklers and 400 with bottle rockets. Sparklers were the most common type of fireworks causing injury to pre-schoolers, and 400 of the 900 sparkler injuries were related to children under five years old. Young adults 20 to 24 years of age had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries in 2016.

Grilling fire safety

All types of grills pose a risk for fires and burn injuries. According to NFPA statistics, July is the peak month for grilling fires followed by May, June and August. Roughly 9,600 home grill fires were reported per year. The leading causes were a failure to clean, using the grill too close to something that could burn or having things that could catch fire too close to the grill, and unattended grill use. Leaks were the leading cause of gas grill fires. According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, 73 percent of consumers grill on the Fourth of July and 58 percent grill on Labor Day.

The following are tips for grillers:

  • The grill should be placed well away the home or deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. The grill should also be a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic. Keep children and pets away from the grill area. Have a three-foot (1 meter) “kid-free zone” around the grill.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease and fat buildup from the grates and trays below.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.
Electric Shock Drowning (ESD)

Electric Shock Drowning happens when marina or onboard electrical systems leak electric current into the water. The current then passes through the body and causes paralysis. When this happens, a person can no longer swim and ultimately drowns. Here are tips for swimmers and boat owners:

Tips for swimmers

  • Never swim near a marina, dock or boatyard, or near a boat while it’s running.
  • Obey all “no swimming” signs on docks.

Tips for boat owners

  • Avoid entering the water when launching or loading a boat. Docks or boats can leak electricity into the water causing water electrification.
  • Each year, and after a major storm that affects the boat, have the boat’s electrical system inspected by a qualified marine electrician to be sure it meets the required codes of your area, including the American Boat & Yacht Council. Make the necessary repairs if recommended. 

More information about electrical safety in pools, spas and hot tubs can be found on NFPA’s “electrical safety around water” webpage. Find this and related summer fire safety-related resources at www.nfpa.org/publiceducation.

For this release and other announcements about NFPA initiatives, research and resources, please visit the NFPA press room.

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global, nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information, visit www.nfpa.org. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.

Contact: Lorraine CarliPublic Affairs Office: +1 617 984-7275