WINDER -- That beacon of summertime bacchanal -- the open flame -- is rife with hazards that can be avoided with just a little planning, Barrow County Emergency Services officials recently advised.
With untold vacations, camping trips, Independence Day celebrations, family reunions and general fair-weather revelry around the corner, officials said it's high season for fire safety. About 3,800 Americans are injured each year by propane and charcoal grills, said department spokesman Lt. Scott Dakin.
"We want to offer just a few safety tips for grilling and camp fires, so that we can make this summer a safe and fun time," Dakin said.
Dakin's safety checklist is as follows:
-- When grilling, position the grill well away from siding, deck railing and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.-- Keep children and pets away from the grill area; declare a three-foot "safe zone" around the grill.-- With a propane grill, check the cylinder hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. A light soap and water solution applied to the hose will reveal escaping propane in the form of bubbles.-- In a fire pit, avoid using soft wood, such as pine or cedar, that will likely pop and throw sparks. Use of seasoned hardwood is suggested.-- Avoid building campfires at a site in hazardous, dry conditions.
For more summer safety tips, log on to the United States Fire Administration website at: www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/focus/summer.shtm
"We hope all of our citizens enjoy themselves this summer and stay safe," Dakin said.