Story by Staff Writer, Encompassinsurance.us
April 7, 2023 4:15 PM EST - Buffalo, NY
Summer is the perfect time for outdoor activities, from barbecues and picnics to camping and fireworks. While these activities are fun and exciting, they also pose potential fire hazards that can result in serious insurance claims.
Here are the top 10 summer fire hazards to be aware of this summer as NOAA says 2023 is expected to be above normal temperatures nearly everywhere in the United States.
1. Grilling Accidents
Outdoor grilling is a summer staple, but it can also be dangerous if not done safely. Keep your grill at least 10 feet away from your home or any flammable materials, and never leave it unattended.
Campfires are a fun way to enjoy the outdoors, but they can quickly get out of control. Always build your campfire in a designated fire pit, and keep a bucket of water or a shovel nearby in case of an emergency.
Fireworks are a popular way to celebrate holidays like the Fourth of July, but they can also be dangerous if not used safely. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions and never light fireworks near flammable materials or indoors.
4. Cigarette Butts
Discarded cigarette butts are a common cause of outdoor fires. Always make sure to dispose of cigarettes properly and never smoke in wooded areas or during dry weather.
5. Electrical Wiring Summer
It is a common time for outdoor electrical projects, but faulty wiring can pose a serious fire hazard. Make sure to hire a licensed electrician to perform any electrical work, and never overload your circuits.
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6. Heat and Flames
High temperatures and open flames can easily start fires in dry, hot weather. Be sure to keep any open flames away from flammable materials and never leave candles unattended.
7. Outdoor Lighting
Outdoor lighting can add ambiance to your summer nights, but it can also be a fire hazard if not installed properly. Make sure to use outdoor-rated light fixtures and never use indoor lights outside. Your best bet? Solar powered lights (but still be careful about placement).
8. Propane Tanks
Propane tanks are commonly used for outdoor grills and other activities, but they can be dangerous if not handled properly. Always store propane tanks outside, away from direct sunlight and heat sources, and make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions.
9. Swimming Pool Chemicals
Swimming pool chemicals can be dangerous if not stored and handled properly. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions, store chemicals in a cool, dry place, and keep them away from flammable materials.
10. Dry Brush and Trees
Dry brush and trees can easily catch fire during hot, dry weather. Keep your yard clear of dry leaves, twigs, and other debris, and create a defensible space around your home by clearing a 30-foot radius.
While summer is a time for fun and relaxation, but it's important to be aware of the potential fire hazards that can result in insurance claims and serious injury. By taking the necessary precautions and being vigilant, you can help prevent fires and protect your home and property.
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BONUS SECTION: Mulch Fires
Mulch is a popular landscaping material used to insulate plants, suppress weeds, and retain moisture. However, many people are unaware that mulch can be flammable, especially during hot, dry weather conditions.
Mulch is made from a variety of materials, including wood chips, leaves, and grass clippings. These materials can decompose and create heat, which can cause the mulch to ignite under the right conditions. In addition, mulch can be a source of fuel for fires, making it more difficult to control and extinguish.
To reduce the risk of mulch fires, it's important to follow a few simple guidelines:
Keep mulch moist: Dry mulch is more likely to catch fire than moist mulch. Water your mulch regularly, especially during hot, dry weather.
Create a buffer zone: Keep a buffer zone of at least 18 inches between mulch and any combustible materials, such as buildings or vegetation.
Store mulch away from buildings: Store mulch at least 30 feet away from buildings, and keep it away from any heat sources, such as electrical boxes or air conditioning units.
Dispose of smoking materials properly: Cigarettes, matches, and other smoking materials should be properly extinguished and disposed of in a non-combustible container.