Safe and happy Fourth of July

Enjoy your local fireworks display this Fourth of July, but leave the handling of fireworks to the professionals. Image: Graphic Stock

The Fourth of July holiday is just around the corner, and many laboratory staff and users will gather with friends and family for picnics and perhaps attend a community fireworks presentation.

The Fermilab Fire Department hopes everyone will have fun on Friday. It would also like people to return to work uninjured after the holiday.

Grills and fireworks can be very dangerous and can cause severe injuries when improperly used.

  • Before using a gas grill, check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line, making sure the venturi tubes — where the air and gas mix — are not blocked.
  • Do not wear loose clothing while cooking at a barbecue.
  • Be careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire as the flames can flash back into the container, causing an explosion.
  • Keep all matches and lighters away from children.
  • Dispose of hot coals properly. Douse them with plenty of water, and stir them to ensure that the fire is out. Never place them in plastic, paper or wooden containers.
  • Never grill or barbecue in enclosed areas, as carbon monoxide could be produced.

Remember that many communities have banned fireworks because of the dangers that they pose. Here are a few suggestions to keep your holiday gathering safe:

  • Treat all fireworks as suitable only for use by trained professionals.
  • Avoid sparklers, as they can burn at a temperature of more than 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to cause third-degree burns.
  • If you get something in your eye from a fireworks explosion, do not rub or rinse your eye. Report to an emergency room immediately.
  • If an injury does occur, remain calm. If your clothing catches on fire, stop, drop and roll.
  • If you see kids playing with fireworks, tell an adult.
  • While attending a fireworks show, keep the recommended distance from the shooting area.
  • If you find fireworks, do not touch them. Direct authorities to them.

Should a fire get out of hand or a burn warrant serious medical attention, call 3131 on the Fermilab site or 911 if off site.

For more on fire and holiday safety, visit Fermilab’s Fire Department’s website.

Please have a safe and happy holiday.

Chuck Kuhn, Fermilab Fire Department chief