It’s officially summer! Your kids are home from school playing with the dog on the lawn. Your neighbors invited you and your family for a BBQ. You’re grilling burgers in the backyard. Everyone is happy to walk out of the house in shorts, a t-shirt and enjoy the weather.

Unfortunately, these fun summer activities that we wait all winter to do often involve grills, backyard bonfires, candles, and sometimes fireworks which can all lead to an increased risk of fire. You should enjoy the summer, but enjoy it responsibly.

1.     Campfires

Before enjoying s’mores over a crackling fire take a few precautions. Make sure to have a bucket of water or hose nearby in case a stray ember lands on a blanket or an eager s’more maker leans too close wearing a baggy sweatshirt. Don’t forget to clear away dry leaves, sticks and avoid making a fire near low branches or on windy days. Keep your little ones a safe distance from the fire, and make sure an adult always has an eye on them. Go over the “stop, drop and roll” procedure with the kids before every fire even if they’ve heard it a hundred times. Make sure the fire is completely out before heading inside.

2.     Grilling

Create a 3-foot safe zone free from any pets, family, friends, house, garage, or overhanging branches. Just like you would never leave a child unattended by the pool or bonfire, never leave a grill unattended. If you’re heading inside to grab a beer ask another adult to watch the grill, or even better ask someone to grab one for you. Make sure you’re keeping your grill clean by removing grease or fat build up to prevent grease fires. Check for a tight connection and leaks in the hose by applying soapy water. Your gas grill lid should be open prior to lighting it, and always turn it off when you’re done grilling. According to The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), each year an average of 8,900 home fires are caused by grilling, and close to half of all injuries involving grills are due to thermal burns. Make sure you and your family stay safe by following the safety tips.

3.     Fireworks

There are no fireworks in existence safe enough for children to use without adult supervision, not even sparklers. If you’re going to use sparklers or any fireworks, always have a water bucket on hand to put used fireworks in. Never try to re-light fireworks that don’t work correctly the first time. The NFPA is opposed to consumer use of fireworks. Try to replace consumer fireworks with other fun toys like glow sticks.

4.     Candles/Lanterns

A summer night can be one of the most enjoyable moments of the year and often requires the assistance of candles or lanterns. Sky lanterns have become trendy party decorations; however, they are made up of oiled rice paper with a bamboo frame and are extremely flammable. You should try to avoid them as they are prohibited by the National Fire Protection Association. If you are at a party with them at least ensure they are away from the house, where children play or anything flammable. Candles should be at least one foot away from anything that can burn, or better yet use flameless candles. They can smell and look like real candles. Use candle holders to prevent them from tipping and blow them out before you leave.

Although fire safety isn’t the first thing you think of when you picture the start of summer it’s incredibly important. This summer, if you take a few safety precautions, what could’ve been a disaster is now a safe and fun family gathering.

To learn about other ways to keep your family safe this summer, contact Specialty Alarm Engineering at