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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Summertime safety


Our celebration of the Fourth of July, our nation’s birthday, should be spent with family and friends—not in the emergency room!

With warm weather and family events, the Fourth of July can be a fun time with great memories. But before your family celebrates, make sure everyone knows about fireworks safety.  Fireworks are a summer tradition for many families, but unfortunately, injuries from fireworks are another tradition that often seems to follow when kids are allowed to play with fireworks.

Children and their families should attend public fireworks displays rather than purchase fireworks for home use.  Parents who understand that firecrackers, bottle rockets, and roman candles, etc., can cause injuries, (and are illegal under Illinois law) often let their younger kids play with sparklers because they think they are safe.

Here’s something to think about. Matches burn at 325°. Cakes bake at 350°. Wood burns at 575°.  Glass melts at 900°.  Aluminum melts at 1,200°. And sparklers burn at up to 1,800°! (Source: Illinois Fire Safety Alliance)

Sparklers cause half of the injuries to children under age five, and 10 percent of fireworks-related injuries overall. So even sparklers should be avoided!

The Naperville Fire Department also urges residents to think carefully about what they use as ashtrays, especially with all the barbecues that will be taking place.

Several fires over the years were started when residents tried to extinguish their cigarettes in potted plants and decorative mulch. The people involved probably just didn’t realize that most plant pots contain more than dirt; some of the materials in the potting mix easily can be ignited.  Dried potting soil is made up of shredded wood, bark, peat moss and Styrofoam pellets combined with dead plant material, creating the “perfect storm” for a fire.

When you have all of that material in a pot that sat out all winter long and then someone decides it’s a great place to stick a cigarette butt, what occurs is a fire several hours later.

Think about filling an old coffee can with water or sand to offer guests as an outdoor ashtray.

On behalf of the Naperville Fire Department, enjoy your summer…..safely!

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Soraya McLaughlin
Soraya McLaughlin
Soraya McLaughlin is the Naperville Fire Department Community Education Specialist. Contact her via email at mclaughlins@naperville.il.us.