Fire Safety Tips

Grilling Safety

There's nothing like outdoor grilling. It's one of the most popular ways to cook food. But a grill placed too close to anything that can burn is a fire hazard. They can be very hot, causing burn injuries. Follow these simple tips and you will be on the way to safe grilling.


  • July is the peak month for grill fires.
  • More then half of home grill structure fire begin on either a courtyard terrace or an exterior balcony or open porch.
  • Roughly half of the injuries involving grills are thermal burns.
Safety Tips:
  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
  • The grill should be well away from the home, deck failings and out from under eaves and overhanging 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 the trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.
Charcoal Grills
  • There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspapers.
  • If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire.
  • When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.

Sun Safety

It is now recognized that sunburn and sun exposure should not be taken as something insignificant. Deaths have resulted from acute exposure and significant temporary disability is experienced by millions of people who are sunburn each year. Unlike a thermal burn, sunburn is not immediately apparent. By the time the skin starts to became painful and red, the damage has been done.
General Sun Safety:
  • Select shaded areas for outdoor activities.
  • Wear broad-brimmed hat, tightly woven clothing, a long sleeved shirt and long pants when you plan to spend long periods of time outdoors.
  • If you are unable to cover up for some reason use a sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15
  • Avoid tanning altogether or at least avoid tanning for long periods, particularly between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. during the summer months.
  • Avoid using sunlamps.
  • Don't forget to block the sun year-round, including cloudy days.
  • Be cautious when using a garden hose that has been exposed to the sun. The standing water can be extremely hot and could cause serious burns. Let the water run and pre-test the temperature.
  • Be cautious of metal and plastic playground equipment that is exposed to direct sun. Contact burns easily occur.

Lightning Safety

Thunder and lightning storms happen all the time. But did you know that lightning strikes and lightning fire occur most often in the summer? Know what to do to keep you and your family safe when it does strike.
  • If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance of lightning.
  • Fully enclosed metal vehicles such as car, trucks and vans with windows rolled up provide good shelter.
  • Large, enclosed buildings tend to be safer than small gazebos or open eating areas.
  • There is no place outside that is safe during a thunderstorm. Wait at least 30 minutes after the last thunder before leaving your shelter.
  • You don't have to be directly hit by lightning to be affected. Lightning can travel along the
    ground from a nearby strike to you. It can also jump from nearby objects that are struck.
Safety Tips:
  • Avoid water, high places such as cliffs, dunes and open spaces.
  • Avoid all metal objects, including fences. electric wires, machinery, motors, power tolls, flag poles etc.
  • Unsafe places include underneath canopies, small picnic or rain shelters or near trees.
  • Avoid being tallest object. Seek ditches, trenches or the low ground.
  • Get as low as you can, but don't lie prone to the ground. Instead kneel with your hands on the ground and your head low.
  • At the first sign of lightning or thunder, swimming pools and beaches should be evacuated.
  • Seek shelter in a safe area.
  • Stay away from doors and windows.

Fire Related Hazards During And After A Storm

Electrical Safety Tips
  • If your home has sustained flood or water damage, and you can safely get to the main power source, turn off the power.
  • Appliances that have been exposed to water can short and become a fire hazard.
  • Assume all wires on the ground are electrically charged. This includes cable TV feeds.
  • Be aware of and avoid downed utility lines. Report downed or damaged power lines to the utility company or emergency services.
  • Have a licensed electrician check your home for damage.
Gas Safety Tips
  • Smell and listen for leaking connections. If you believe there is a gas leak, immediately leave the house and leave the door(s) open.
  • Never strike a match. Any size flame can spark an explosion.
  • Have the gas company check the system before turning the gas on.
Heating Safety Tips
  • Do not use kitchen oven to heat your home. In addition to being a fire hazard, it can be a source of toxic fumes.
  • Alternative heaters need their space. Keep anything combustible at least three feet away.
  • Make sure heaters have "tip switches". These "tip switches" are designed to automatically turn off in the event they tip over.
  • Only use the type of fuel recommended by the manufacturer and follow suggested guidelines.
  • Never fill a space heater while it is operating or still hot.
  • Refuel space heaters only outdoors.
Generator Safety Tips
  • Generators are often used during power outages. Generators that are not properly used and maintained can be hazardous.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions and guidelines when using the generators.
  • Use the generator or other fuel powered machines outside the home. CO fumes are odorless and can quickly overwhelm you indoors.
  • Use the appropriate type power cords to carry the electrical load. Overloaded cords can overheat and cause fires.
  • Never run cords under rugs or carpets where heat might build up or damage to a cord can go unnoticed.
  • Never connect generators to another power source such as power lines. The reverse flow or "backfeed" can electrocute an unsuspecting person.
  • Look for flammable liquids such as gasoline, lighter fluid and paint thinner that may have spilled. Thoroughly clean the spill and place containers in a well-ventilated area away from heat sources.
  • Be careful if using candles. Keep the flame away from combustible objects and out of reach of children. You should have flashlights and spare batteries on hand for these types of emergencies.
  • The Village of Richton Park is concerned for the health & wellness of our citizens. During a storm or power outage, please contact our Fire Department and they will do a wellness check.

Outdoor Fire Pit/Fireplace Safety Tips

Keep safety your first consideration when using an outdoor fireplace, fire pit or fire bowl
. Whether wood, gel, or gas fueled, when in use your outdoor fireplace or fire pit does contain fire. Never leave an outdoor fire unattended. The wind can suddenly increase or shift direction, children or pets can unexpectedly bump into something or fall and adults can lose focus at inconvenient times.
Start with a small fire. The first time you use your outdoor fireplace or fire pit, use minimal fuel. Learn how your outdoor fireplace or fire pit draws air, how it responds to changes in wind direction and how long it burns before you need to add fuel.
Use a fat wood stick to light your fire. Fat wood is an all-natural product, a selected part of pine trees "fat" with the highly combustible pine resin, sold in convenient sticks. Fat wood sticks light with a single match, even when wet. Never use chemicals to start your fire, especially gasoline or charcoal fire starters.
Select your firewood to minimize smoke. Well-seasoned hardwoods such as oak and hickory produce less smoke than unseasoned wood or softwoods.
Be prepared to extinguish the fire. Always keep a hose, water supply, sand bucket or fire extinguisher within reach when using your outdoor fireplace or fire pit. If relying on fire extinguishers, teach all family members how to use a fire extinguisher correctly and make sure the fire extinguisher is properly charged. At the end of the evening you will want to be sure your fire is completely out before leaving your outdoor fireplace or fire pit.
Use the Screen. Most outdoor fireplaces and fire pits have mesh screens. After the initial flames have died down, place the screen in front of or over the fire. The screen is meant to control sparks and burning bits of debris, keeping them from exiting the fire area.
Use safety gloves. The same insulated, leather gloves you use for your indoor fireplace can serve you well with your outdoor fireplace or fire pit. Of course you know the screen, glass and all metal parts of the outdoor fireplace or fire pit are hot when is use, but it s surprising how many people forget that detail.
Use the protective covering. If your outdoor fireplace or fie pit comes with a protective cover, use it to shield your outdoor fireplace or fire pit from the elements.
Select stainless steel accessories. Stainless steel will not rust, so stainless steel fireplace tool sets which include fireplace tools such as tongs, shovels, and pokers will be able to withstand the elements.
Put out the fire when you finish with it. Yes, your outdoor fireplace or fire pit is a safe place for fire, but you never want to leave any fire unattended. Even if the fire is dying down, do not just call it an evening and walk away. Put the fire out, completely out, before you leave it.
Use an ash bucket when you clean out your outdoor fireplace or fire pit. Remove the ashes to an ash bucket for added safety. Also, an ash bucket avoids having ashes blow into your face or onto your clean deck, sidewalk or patio.