Celebrate Summer Safely – BBQ & Fireworks Safety Tips

Summer is here, and that means time spent outside – playing, cooking, spectating, and generally enjoying the longer hours of daylight with family and friends. Unfortunately, summer also brings an increase in fires and injuries from improper use of grills and fireworks. Be sure to adequately cool and clean the grill prior to putting it away between uses, including properly disposing of the ashes as you would those from a woodstove. Along the same lines, spent fireworks should only be placed in a non-combustible container with a lid – not in the regular household trash, which is usually stored in a plastic bag and bin. Thinking ahead can save a headache – or worse – when it comes to summer fun.

Celebrate the summer season safely with these tips:

Grilling Safety

  • For several reasons, be sure to only use grills outdoors. Propane fuel and charcoal smoke should never make its way indoors, and a BBQ grill should never be used as a heating source. Be sure the area around the grill is clear of combustible material, including any overhead branches. Never use a grill next to a building or on a balcony – maintain at least 10 feet from any structure.
  • Place your grill on a flat, level surface, and make sure any wheels are locked prior to starting it up. Make sure the gas connection is secure and leak-free, and that no coals are able to fall through a rusted base.
  • Clean your grill after use to avoid grease buildup. Wait until it cools though – hot grease will burn skin instantly.
  • Never leave your grill unattended. Cooking with an open flame is inherently dangerous, and food will cook differently than it does on the stovetop or in the oven. Be sure children are aware the grill is on and hot, and are kept away until the grill is cool again.


Fireworks Safety

  • Just like grills, only use fireworks outdoors, including sparklers. Avoid lighting sparklers in a garage where combustible material is more likely to be nearby. Never use fireworks while impaired, and never allow children to play with fireworks, especially unattended. Even sparklers can reach temperatures of 2,000 degrees or more and burn hands, clothing, etc.
  • Soak spent fireworks in water before disposing, and use a metal can with a lid, and do not try to re-light fireworks.
  • Never point fireworks at people, animals or structures. Be aware of where ashes can land – boat covers, camp or other building roofs, even into trees or a freshly hayed field could start a fire.
  • Consider alternatives such as glowsticks, streamers, or silly string. Your neighborhood dogs will thank you!
  • Never use illegal fireworks – trust the experts to put on an excellent show.




First Alert: Grilling Safety Tips 

National Safety Council: Fireworks Safety Tips

Union Mutual blog archive: Fireworks Don’t Play

Union Mutual blog archive: Tips for summer BBQ safety