Practice fire safety this weekend

May 23, 2009

By Contributor

NEW — 6 a.m. May 23, 2009

Memorial Day weekend is a time when families typically enjoy camping and the outdoors. The Office of the State Fire Marshal would like to remind everyone to be responsible with the use of fire while taking advantage of the weather. 

“It doesn’t take much for a small fire to turn into a large blaze,” said State Fire Marshal Mike Matlick. “Be aware and careful about any activity that could trigger a wildfire.”

Knowing a few fire safety tips will help everyone have a fire safe holiday weekend:

Campfire safety

It is important to follow a park’s rules for use of and extinguishing campfires.

Build campfires where they will not spread. A 5-foot to 10-foot circle around the fire should be cleared of all flammable materials, and your tent should be at least 15 feet away.

Keep campfires to a reasonable and manageable size – do not let them get out of hand.

Thoroughly drown the fire, stir it and douse it again with water – do not leave a fire until it is out cold.

Barbecue safety

Always inspect your grill at the beginning of the season, checking all connections and supply hoses. Make sure the venturi tubes that deliver gas to the burner are not blocked.

Do not overfill the propane tank. Always store tanks outside, in a well-ventilated area.

Keep barbecues 5 feet to 10 feet away from your house or other flammable material. Never barbecue in enclosed areas – carbon monoxide could result.

Do not add fluid to hot coals. The flame can flash back up into the container and explode.

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.

General fire safety

Ensure children and pets are kept well away from fire. Teach your children to immediately report any loose matches or lighters to an adult.

Make sure everyone knows to stop, drop and roll in case a piece of clothing does catch fire. Call 911 if a burn warrants serious medical attention.

Never leave your fire unattended and keep plenty of water nearby.

Do not wear loose clothing while tending a fire, and tie long hair back.

For additional fire safety tips and informational brochures, go to the Office of the State Fire Marshal Web page at

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