Protect Your Family from Fire-Related Injuries This Summer!
Barbecues and campfires are fun ways to enjoy the Great Outdoors. But with the fun comes increased risk of injury. Watch our latest Safety Video and download the guide below to make sure that your cookouts and campfires are safe for all!
Each year, thousands of people pull out their LP gas grills at the start of "barbecuing season." But before firing up the grill, there are several safety precautions to keep in mind. You should explain to children how dangerous grills can be if they get too close. Grills get extremely hot and can severely burn a child. By following these guidelines, you'll help prevent possible gas explosions or fires.
LP gas is flammable. Many accidents occur after the grill has been unused over a period of time, or after a grill's gas container has been refilled and reattached.
SAFETY CHECKS EACH TIME YOU USE THE GRILL
- Check venturi tube for blockage by insects, spiders, or food drippings. Clear blockage, either with a pipe cleaner or with a wire. Push any blockages through the tube to the main part of the burner.
- Check grill's hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes, and leaks. Make sure there aren't sharp bends in the hose or tubing.
- Make sure hoses are as far away from the hot surface as possible. Make sure to keep hoses away from areas where grease could drip on them. If you can't move hoses, have a heat shield installed.
- Check connectors. If scratched or nicked, have them replaced; these conditions can cause leaks.
- Check for gas leaks whenever you reconnect the grill to the LP-gas container, or if you smell gas. To check for leaks, open the gas supply valve fully and apply a soapy solution (one part water, one part liquid detergent) with a brush at connection points. If bubbles appear, there is a leak. Turn off the gas and tighten the connection clockwise. (If it is the tank connection, tighten counterclockwise.) If this does not stop the leak, close the container valve and take the grill to your LP gas dealer or a qualified appliance repair person.
- If a leak is detected, don't attempt to light the grill until the leak has been stopped. If you are using the grill, turn off the gas.
- Make sure there are no lighted cigarettes, matches, or open flames near a leaking grill.
- NEVER USE A GRILL INDOORS. And use the grill at least ten feet away from your house or any building. DO NOT USE THE GRILL in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or under a surface that will burn.
- Do not attempt to repair the container valve or appliance yourself. See your LP gas dealer or a qualified appliance repair person.
- Always follow the instructions that accompany the grill.
LP GAS CONTAINER TIPS
- Always keep containers upright.
- Never store a spare gas container under or near the grill.
- Never store or use flammable liquids, like gasoline, near the grill.
- Never use or store a gas container indoors.
- Transport the container in a secure, upright position.
- Never keep a filled container in a hot car or car trunk.
- Heat will cause the gas pressure to increase which may open the relief valve and allow gas to escape.
- Unless you have (the preferred) bar-coded container and are filling it at a facility that fills such containers, have the container refilled only by your LP gas dealer or by a qualified service station operator. DO NOT FILL THE CONTAINER YOURSELF.
- Remove the container valve plug from the container valve.
- Thread the container connector securely into the container valve outlet (turn counter clock-wise).
- Tighten, but do not use excessive force.
- After connected, check for leaks (see above instructions).
- Before disconnecting, turn off the gas burner and container valve.
- Disconnect the container (turn clockwise).
- Place the container valve plug securely into the container valve outlet.
TIPS FOR PURCHASING A GRILL OR GAS CONTAINER
- Buy a unit with a "quick connect" device at the container valve outlet.
- Buy a unit with an automatic thermal shut-off device.
- Buy a unit with a high pressure system shut-off regulator.
- Buy containers that bear the mark of a nationally-recognized testing laboratory.
Although many thousands of homeowners have driven these mowers and tractors for years without mishap, others haven't been as fortunate. Hazards most often associated with riding equipment are blade contact and loss of stability.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 18,000 consumer injuries related to riding mower mishaps were treated in hospital emergency rooms in 1986. Between 1983-1986, there were an estimated 75 deaths each year related to riding mower, lawn tractors and garden tractor accidents.
Fatal accidents have several common patterns: the machine tips over, the victim falls under or is run over by the machine (accidents involving young children fall in this category), or the victim is thrown from or falls off the machine. The risk of an accident with a ride-on mower is almost twice the chance of a mishap with a walk-behind rotary mower.
Safe Operating Practices for Riding Lawnmowers
A riding lawnmower is capable of amputating hands and feet and throwing objects that are hit by the blade. Failure to observe the following safety instructions could result in serious injury or death to the operator and/or bystander.
- Read, understand, and follow the safety and operating instructions that are in the manual and on the unit.
- Allow only responsible adults who are familiar with the instructions and with proper operating procedures to operate the machine.
- Clear the mowing area of objects such as rocks, toys, wire, etc., which could be picked up and thrown by the blade.
- Be sure the area is clear of other people before mowing. Stop the mower if anyone enters the area.
- Never carry passengers.
- Do not mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary. Bring the machine to a full stop before shifting to reverse. Always look behind before and while operating in reverse.
- Be aware of the discharge direction and do not point it at anyone.
- Slow down before turning.
- Never leave a running machine unattended. Always turn off the blades, set the parking brake, stop the engine, and remove the keys before dismounting.
- Turn off blades and attachments when not mowing.
- Stop the engine before removing the grass catcher or unclogging the chute.
- Mow only in daylight or good artificial light.
- Do not operate the machine while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Watch for traffic when operating near or crossing roadways.
Slopes are a major factor related to tip over and loss of control accidents, which can result in severe injury or death. All slopes require extra caution. If you cannot back up the slope or if you feel uneasy on it, do not mow it.
- Mow up and down slopes, not across.
- Remove obstacles such as rocks, downed tree limbs, etc.
- Watch for holes, ruts or bumps. Uneven terrain could cause the mower to overturn. Tall grass can hide obstacles. Use slow speed. Shift into a lower gear before going on a slope. Choose a low enough gear so that you will not have to stop or shift while on the slope.
- Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for wheel weights or counterweights to improve stability.
- Use extra care with grass catchers or other attachments. These can change the stability of the mower.
- Empty grass catcher bags when they are only partially full.
- Keep all movement on slopes slow and gradual. Avoid sudden changes in speed and direction.
- Avoid starting or stopping on a slope. If tires lose traction, disengage the blades, and proceed slowly straight down the slope.
- Do not turn on slopes unless unavoidable; then, with the blades disengaged, turn slowly and gradually downhill.
- Do not mow near drop-offs, ditches, or embankments. A wheel over the edge or an edge caving in could cause sudden overturn.
- Do not mow on wet grass. Reduced traction could cause sliding.
- Do not try to stabilize the machine by putting your foot on the ground.
- Do not use a grass catcher on steep slopes or rough terrains.
Tragic accidents can occur if the operator is not alert to the presence of children. Children are often attracted to the mower and the mowing activity. Never assume that children will remain where you last saw them.
- Keep small children out of the mowing area, preferably indoors under the watchful care of an adult other than the operator.
- Be alert and turn the mower off if children enter the area.
- Before and when operating in reverse, look behind and down for small children.
- Never carry children. They may fall off and be seriously injured or interfere with safe mower operation.
- Never allow children to operate the mower.
- Use extra care when approaching corners, shrubs, and trees.
- Use extra care in handling gasoline. It is flammable, and the vapors are explosive.
- Use only an approved container.
- Never remove the gas cap or add fuel with the engine running. Allow the engine to cool before refueling.
- Never refuel the machine indoors.
- Never store the machine or gasoline container inside the house where there is an open flame, such as a gas water heater.
- Always clean up spilled gasoline.
- Never run a machine inside a closed area without good ventilation.
- Keep nuts and bolts, especially blade attachment bolts, tight and keep equipment in good condition.
- Never tamper with safety devices. Check their operation regularly.
- Keep the machine free of grass, leaves, and oil build-up to prevent fire.
- Stop and inspect the equipment if you strike an object. Repair if necessary before restarting.
- Never make adjustments or repairs with the engine running.
- Grass catcher components are subject to damage and deterioration. To reduce the thrown object hazard, periodically check and replace with manufacturer's recommended parts, when necessary.
- Mower blades are sharp and can cut. Wrap the blades or wear gloves and use extra caution when servicing them.
- Check brake operation frequently. Adjust and service as required.
Keep Your Family Safe Around Fireworks!
Family Safety Advocate, Jacquie Palisi shares important precautions to take to keep your family safe around fireworks this holiday. Download our Parent's Guide to Fireworks Safety below to help prevent fireworks-related injuries and possibly even save a life.
What is the safest way to prevent fireworks injuries?
- The safest way to prevent fireworks-related injuries is to leave fireworks displays to trained professionals.
How extensive is the problem?
- In 2005, four persons died and an estimated 10,800 were treated in emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries in the United States.
- An estimated 5% of fireworks-related injuries treated in emergency departments required hospitalization.
Who is most likely to be injured?
- About 60% of all fireworks-related injuries in 2005 occurred between June 18 and July 18. During that time period:
- about 45% of persons injured from fireworks were children ages 14 years and younger;
- males were injured by fireworks more than twice as often as females; and
- children ages 10 to 14 years had the highest injury rate for fireworks-related injuries.
- Persons who are actively participating in fireworks-related activities are more frequently injured, and sustain more severe injuries, than bystanders.
When do these injuries happen?
- Injuries occur on and around holidays associated with fireworks celebrations, especially July 4th and New Year's Eve.
What kinds of injuries occur?
- Between June 18 and July 18, 2005:
- Fireworks-related injuries most frequently involved hands and fingers (31%), eyes (25%), and the head and face (20%).
- More than half of the injuries were burns. Burns were the most common injury to all body parts except the eyes. In the eyes, contusions, lacerations and foreign bodies occurred more frequently.
- Fireworks can be associated with serious injuries such as blindness, third degree burns, and permanent scarring.
- Fireworks also cause life-threatening residential and motor vehicle fires.
What types of fireworks are associated with the most injuries?
- Between June 18 and July 18, 2005:
- Firecrackers (26%), sparklers (17%), and rockets (17%) accounted for most of the injuries seen in emergency departments.
- Sparklers were associated with more than half of the estimated injuries for children under five.
- Between 2000-2005, more than one third of the fireworks-related deaths involved professional devices that were illegally sold to consumers.
Safety Links On This Topic
Sources: The safety tips in this section were compiled from the following great internet resources: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (http://www.cpsc.gov)