With the Memorial Day holiday just around the corner, signaling the start of summer and a host of outdoor celebrations, authorities are urging residents to prioritize fire and burn safety during their festive gatherings. The upcoming long weekend often involves cookouts, bonfires, and other outdoor activities that can pose fire hazards. In light of this, Camp I Am Me, formerly known as the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance, is providing important fire and burn prevention tips to ensure the safety of families and friends as they kick off the summer season.
"Memorial Day is a time when residents can fully embrace the outdoors, attending barbecues, going camping, or engaging in activities where fire or burn dangers may be present," stated James Kreher, President of Camp I Am Me and Chief of the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District. "We urge everyone to remain vigilant and follow basic safety tips and precautions to ensure a memorable and accident-free holiday."
To help the public stay safe during their outdoor gatherings, Camp I Am Me offers the following fire and burn prevention tips: Supervise children and pets when there is a campfire or fire pit.
Establish a "Kid-Free Zone" with a three-foot radius around the campfire or fire pit. Always keep a hose, bucket of water, or shovel with dirt or sand nearby to extinguish fires. When extinguishing a fire, thoroughly douse all coals or remaining flames with water and ensure no heat, glow, or flames remain. Never leave a fire unattended, even for a brief period.
Grilling safety is also a crucial aspect of outdoor fire prevention. Camp I Am Me advises the public to follow these guidelines. Maintain close supervision of food while it is cooking on the grill. Turn off the grill promptly after cooking is completed and let it cool completely before relocating it. Keep grills at least three feet away from flammable materials such as deck railings, overhanging branches, and homes. Use only charcoal starter fluid for igniting charcoal and avoid other flammable liquids.
In addition to campfires and grilling, it is essential to take precautions when engaging in firepit and outdoor burning activities. Camp I Am Me advises residents to check with their local fire department or municipality for any restrictions before starting an open-air fire, recreational fire, or outdoor cooking fire. Bonfires or yard waste fires should be at least 50 feet away from anything combustible, while campfires should be a minimum of 25 feet away from any flammable structures. Furthermore, fire pits should be placed at least 10 feet away from any potential fire hazards.
Camp I Am Me's Executive Director, Philip Zaleski, emphasized the significance of reviewing basic safety tips to prevent injuries and property damage associated with outdoor recreational activities involving fires. "Our mission is to educate residents across the state so that we can all create lasting memories with our loved ones as safely as possible," he said.
To access additional fire safety and burn prevention resources and information to protect families and homes, visit the Camp I Am Me website at ifsa.org/prevention-resources/.