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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Fire Prevention 24-7 – Fire safety tips for June, July and August


I think it’s safe to say that summer is here!

With the better weather, comes bonfires and more outdoor activities. Because of this I think it’s important to discuss flammable liquids, as many have probably already begun grilling and using portable fire pits. Children and adults alike have been injured using flammable liquids such as gasoline. Most incidents involve a flammable liquid used on an outside fire such as burning trash, a bonfire, or a brush fire. Each year, thousands of emergency department-treated injuries are related to flammable liquids. Of the people injured, 87% were male, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Vapors from some of these liquids are highly flammable. Since you can’t see vapors, use extra caution around the gasoline and other flammable liquids.

During outside use of flammable liquids, the wind can unexpectedly change direction, causing vapors to blow toward you when lighting a fire. Make sure you have completely closed the flammable liquid container and it is away from the area before you light a fire. Make sure you never put a flammable liquid on an old fire that could still be hot! The fire could immediately re-ignite and follow the vapors back to you and the flammable liquid container.

The Naperville Fire Department is also urging residents to think carefully about what they use as ashtrays. In Naperville, several fires each year are started when residents try to extinguish their cigarettes in potted plants. The people involved probably just didn’t realize that most plant pots don’t contain only dirt, and that some of the materials in the potting mix can be easily 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 that material in a pot that sat out all winter long, and then someone uses it as an ashtray, what occurs is a fire several hours later. Use a coffee can full of sand or water for your cigarette butts and keep it away from the house.

And lastly, please enjoy a safe 4th of July holiday by leaving the fireworks to the professionals!

Also, remember not to leave your grill too close to the house or unattended. On behalf of the Naperville Fire Department, here’s to a fire and injury-free summer!

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