TOPEKA, Kan. – June 25, 2018 – As Kansans soon join millions of other Americans, gathering to celebrate our nation’s independence, AAA Kansas and AAA Insurance warn that some inherent dangers of Fourth of July celebrations can lead to injury of party-goers, property damage and significant liability for homeowners and hosts.
“With preparation and safe practices,” said Alex Greig, Regional Insurance Manager with AAA Kansas. “Fourth of July fireworks and cookouts can be accident- and damage-free, and as a result, much more fun for everyone.”
FIREWORKS DANGER, IMPACT AND SAFETY
Many Kansans enjoy celebrating the Fourth with their own fireworks displays, but these products, while legal in many places, are extremely dangerous and cause plenty of damage and injuries every year.
- More fires are reported in the United States on the Fourth of July than on any other day, and fireworks account for more than half of those blazes, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
- Fireworks cause an estimated 18,500 reported fires annually in the United States
- Fireworks result in an estimated $43 million in direct property damage in America each year
- U.S. hospital emergency rooms treat an estimated 11,900 people for fireworks related injuries each year
- 51 percent of those injuries were to the extremities
- 41 percent of those injuries were to the head
- People ages 25-44 (34 percent) account for the largest percentage of fireworks injuries, followed by children ages 5-9 (15 percent)
- Sparklers, which burn at a searing 1,200°F, account for roughly 25 percent of emergency room fireworks injuries
Fireworks Safety Tips
AAA Kansas and AAA Insurance want to help the public celebrate safely, and the following tips from the State of Kansas Fire Marshal provide guidelines for the safe use of fireworks:
- Always purchase high quality fireworks from reliable and legitimate sources
- Always read and follow label directions
- Have an adult supervise all fireworks activities
- Always ignite fireworks outdoors
- Have water nearby
- Never experiment or attempt to make your own fireworks
- Light only one firework at a time
- Never re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks
- Never give fireworks to small children
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place
- Dispose of fireworks properly
- Never throw fireworks at another person
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket
- Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers
In addition, bottle rockets and M80s are dangerous and illegal in the state of Kansas. The use or sale of these banned fireworks is considered a crime under Kansas law.
BARBECUE GRILLING SAFETY
According to the National Fire Protection Association, June and July are the peak months for summer grill fires, with nearly 9,000 fires caused by grills, hibachis and other barbecues each year, accounting for $37 million in property loss in the United States.
“Grilling season is a great time to enjoy friends, family, food and the outdoors, but accidents can happen,” said AAA Kansas’ Greig. “Before you barbecue, take a few minutes to review grilling safety tips and to ensure your equipment is working properly.”
Safe barbecuing tips
- Place your grill at least 10 feet away from walls and deck railings to prevent fires from igniting buildings. Keep your grill away from decorations, such as hanging plants and umbrellas.
- Never grill indoors or in confined areas; charcoal grills produce carbon monoxide fumes that are fatal in unventilated areas.
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby, and know how to use it.
- Never leave a grill burning unattended.
- Grease can cause flare up fires. Keep your grill clean by removing grease and fat build-up from the grill and grill trays.
- If the flame on your propane grill goes out, turn the grill and gas off. Wait at least 15 minutes before relighting, and always make sure your grill lid is open before igniting.
“AAA wants everyone to safely celebrate the red, white and blue, without injuries or damage to their property,” Greig added. “It’s always a good idea to consult your insurance agent to be sure about what your homeowners or renters policy covers and does not cover in terms of liability with party gatherings and potential damage related to grilling or fireworks accidents.”
To find out more about homeowners or renters insurance, and what is covered in the event of a grilling or fireworks related fire or injuries, contact your local AAA Kansas insurance agent by calling 866-AAA-4YOU or visiting www.aaa.com/insurance.