Feature Writer Terri Winaught – Being Safe in the Summer

Memorial Day is often considered the unofficial beginning of summer. Whether official or not, summer evokes thoughts of picnics, other outdoor activities, and vacations. While all of the above are fun, fire certainly is not, and fire never takes a vacation. The following safety tips come from the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) education and prevention Programs and a blog written by Teresa Neil, lead in the Fire Safety Prevention and Education Program.

Though practicing and reviewing one’s home fire safety plan may seem like common sense, it can also be just as easy not to think about it during summer’s hazy lazy days. In addition to practicing your escape route, fire safety also includes checking the batteries in your smoke detector once a month. For the benefit of readers with some sight and hearing impairments, there are alarms with strobe lights and bed shakers that will awaken you when the detector sounds.

Just as fire safety in the home is important, so, too, are safety tips when grilling outdoors. Before grilling those meats or vegetables this Memorial Day weekend or at any time during the summer, check your grill’s propane tank to be sure there are no cracks and also that it is connected properly. Once you know that your grill is working properly, remove the lid before lighting. Never add lighter fluid to a grill that is already lit.

When grilling, have a three-foot safety zone around the grill. Also use long-handled tongs to prevent burns on hands and arms.

Fireworks are yet another summertime safety issue. Though most of us leave fireworks displays in the experienced hands of experts, there is always someone who will be curious enough about their use to experiment. Though everyone knows that fireworks get hot, what people may not know is that their tips can reach temperatures of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature, fireworks can produce third degree burns.

If your vacation includes visiting a hotel, be sure to learn where the exits are. As part of that process, count the number of doors from your room to the nearest exit. If you feel you will need assistance evacuating, alert hotel staff. Depending on the nature and severity of your disability, you might also want to request a room on the first floor.

Whether at home, at a picnic, or in a hotel, be safe this summer and remember: fire never takes a vacation.

Source: disability.gov and http://usodep.blogs.govdelivery.com/. To sign up for fire safety and other important disability information from the Federal government, go to disability.gov and link to those topics on which you’d like to receive E-mail alerts.

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