SHREWSBURY — Chief James Vuona and Emergency Management Director Steve Rocco wish to remind residents of important warm weather safety tips.
“As residents start grilling and opening their swimming pools, we want to remind everyone that it is essential to properly store and use your grill, and that all swimming pools need to be secured when not in use and monitored whenever someone is swimming,” Chief Vuona said. “With the warmer weather comes a great deal of fun outdoors, and we’re asking everyone to be responsible.”
According to a report issued by the National Fire Protection Association this April, approximately 10,200 home fires nationwide are started each year by grills.
The Massachusetts Department of Fire Services has several tips for grilling safely in the coming weeks and months:
- Propane and charcoal grills should only be used outdoors.
- Place grills away from the house, deck railings and out from under eaves of overhanging branches.
- Grills should only be used on first floor porches, decks, or patios if there is an outdoor stairway to the ground, or the porch is at ground level.
- Keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from the grilling area. Children should never play near grills or propane cylinders.
Gas Grill Safety
- Make sure the lid of a gas grill is open when you light it. Propane can build up inside and when ignited, the lid may blow off.
- Check that all connections are tight before turning on the gas.
- Clean the grease trap every time you grill.
- Check the propane tank hose for potential leaks by applying a light soap and water solution to the hose using a brush or spray bottle. See if any bubbles appear around the hose. If no bubbles appear, the grill is safe to use.
- If you smell gas while cooking, turn the grill off and move away from it. Call 911 from a safe location. Do not move the grill.
- Store propane cylinders upright in an outdoor, shaded area. Cylinders should not be used, stored or transported where they can be exposed to high temperatures.
Charcoal Grill Safety
- Use only charcoal starter fluid. Never used gasoline or kerosene to start a fire in a grill and never add lighter fluid to burning briquettes or hot coals.
- Always use charcoal grills in a well-ventilated area. Charcoal briquettes emit carbon monoxide, which can be deadly.
- Properly dispose of grill ashes. Allow the coals to burn out completely and then cool for 48 hours before disposal. If you must dispose of ashes before they are completely cooled, thoroughly soak them in water before putting them in a metal container.
Chief Vuona is also urging residents to take heed of several pool safety tips this summer.
- Per Massachusetts regulation, pools should be surrounded by a 4-foot-high barrier that encloses the pool and has an access gate that self-closes, locks and opens outward from the swimming area (even if you don’t have children).
- Fasten a safety cover over the pool when it is not in use, and remove ladders to further prevent access into the pool. Pool alarms are required whenever a house door leads directly to a pool deck.
- Never leave children unattended while they are in or near a pool, and make sure they have an adult to accompany them into the water. Young or inexperienced swimmers should always wear a life jacket or inflatable arm flotation devices.
- Make sure children stay away from pool drains, pipes or any other openings to avoid getting trapped or hurt.
- Set safety instructions and share them with family, friends, neighbors and anyone else who is near or uses the pool. Advise children to stay away from pool deep ends, and to always walk, never run near the pool.
- Keep your pool or hot tub water clean and clear. Maintain proper chemical levels, circulation and filtration. Regularly test and adjust the chemical levels to minimize the risk of earaches, rashes or more serious diseases.
- Never use the pool if the chemical levels are not correct, or if the water is cloudy and you can’t see the bottom.
- Take a CPR course for adults and children to be prepared if an emergency situation occurs. Update skills regularly.
- Watch the local weather reports and do not swim if thunderstorms are in the forecast.
- Those who are 21 and older should drink responsibly if they choose to consume alcoholic beverages when by the pool. Overindulging increases the risk for injuries or accidental drowning.
- Avoid using glass containers by the pool. They could break and leave glass around the pool or in the water.
- For a complete listing of Massachusetts building code regulations regarding swimming pools, click here.