How to keep friends and family safe this Fourth of July

Backyard picnicIt’s time to fire up the grill and light the campfire to ring in the U.S.A.’s birthday!

UofL Hospital Burn Center, home to the only level I adult burn unit in the region, wants to make sure that your holiday celebration is a safe one and free from any burn or fire-related injuries.

Keep these helpful tips in mind:

Grilling out:
• Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
• Place grill well away from the home, deck railings and out from underneath any overhangs or branches.
• Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
• Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
• Never leave your grill unattended.
• Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
• If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
• When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.
• Have baking soda on hand to control a grease fire and a fire extinguisher nearby for other fires. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, keep a bucket of sand next to the grill. Never use water to put out a grease fire.

Campfires:
Did you know 70 percent of campfire burns are caused by embers rather than flames? Here is what you need to know:

Do
• Build your fire in a designated ring/pit at least 15 feet away (preferably downwind from tent, brush and other flammable objects).
• Talk to children about campfire safety.
• Keep children at a safe distance with a “circle of safety” at least three feet from the fire edge.
• Keep the fire small and manageable, with water nearby.
• Completely extinguish the fire and coals by pouring water, stirring, and pouring water again until it is cool. Never bury a fire. Fire pits retain heat up to 12 hours after being extinguished – hot enough to cause a severe burn.

Don’t
• Use an accelerant such as gasoline, kerosene or aerosol sprays to start a fire
• Leave a fire unattended – EVER!
• Throw anything other than wood into the fire
• Build a fire if conditions are dry or if forest fire danger is high
• Assume the fire pit is safe when arriving at a campsite. Coals from previous campers can still be hot!

Sources:
American Burn Association
National Fire Protection Agency

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About Lori Sipes, R.N.

Lori Sipes, BSN, RN, has been a nurse for more than 25 years, with 21 years spent at the bedside. She has worked at UofL Hospital for 17 years, and has a passion for taking care of patients. Lori has worked throughout the hospital, many times on the burn unit eventually becoming the manager. Lori also teaches Burn Awareness, Advanced Burn Life Support, Straight Talk for at risk youth and Burn Care classes at the Hospital and local colleges. Lori is proud to work with the amazing staff on the burn unit as they work as a cohesive, caring team to provide fantastic care. UofL Hospital Burn Center's newly expanded 16-bed unit is the only dedicated adult burn center in the region.

All posts by Lori Sipes, R.N.