Fire Department Offers Tips to Make Your Spring and Summer Safe
Spring and summer months bring changes in lifestyles and recreational activities for many Americans. People are outdoors swimming, having cook-outs, mowing lawns and participating in other outdoor activities. El Paso Fire Officials want to remind the public to think safety while enjoying outdoor activities and offers the following safety information.
House And Garden Equipment
Power Lawn Mowers
Power lawn mowers can be great time savers. However, about 50,000 people receive hospital emergency room treatment yearly for injuries associated with power lawn mowers. Every year operators of power mowers receive severe cuts and amputations when they try to clear the discharge chute of grass clippings and other debris or adjust the machine while it is still operating. A power mower should be turned off and the spark plug disconnected before any work is done on it. Care should be exercised when operating an electric mower so that the cord does not become entangled in the blades.
Not all victims hurt in power mower accidents are operators. By-standers are also injured when the mower with a great deal of force propels rocks, twigs and other objects on the ground. Raking the area before cutting the grass may prevent that type of accident.
Wearing sturdy shoes, rather than sandals or sneakers, will give better protection to the feet when cutting grass with a power lawn mower.
Insecticides/Pesticides/Toxic Household Substances
Spring and summer gardening may mean an increased usage of insecticides, pesticides and weed killers. The Fire Department reminds people with young children to store and lock up all toxic substances out of their reach. A tragic accidental poisoning could be the result of storing household and garden products underneath the kitchen sink or in an open shed. Pesticides and insecticides will soon be available in child-protection packaging to prevent accidental poisonings.
A number of general household products are already sold in safety packages, such as drain cleaner, turpentine, lighter fluid, oil of wintergreen, windshield washer solution, and furniture polish. Fire Officials urge consumers to buy products with child-resistant packaging when available.
Each year some 40,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with in-ground swimming pools. The greatest number of those injuries is a result of falls on slippery surfaces surrounding pools. Installation of non-slip material around the pool could make the area safer. It is also a good idea to place rescue and first aid equipment nearby. Keeping electrical appliances, such as radios, away from the swimming pool will reduce hazards of electric shock.
Consumers who may be building swimming pools this season should consider constructing a tall fence on all sides of the pool. Young children drown each summer because they wander into swimming pools unnoticed. And for this reason, the swimming pool should not be directly accessible from house or patio doors.
Charcoal grills come into prominent use in the spring and summer. Extreme caution should be taken when cooking on charcoal grills to prevent painful burn injuries and inhalation of smoke and gases. Gasoline should never be used in place of charcoal lighter fluid. And never reapply charcoal lighter fluid after the fire has started; the flames can ignite the vapors, and travel up to the can causing an explosion.
Charcoal grills should never be used in confined spaces, such as homes, campers or tents, or any other area not properly ventilated.
El Paso Fire Officials would like to remind the residents living in apartment complexes and apartment managers about laws regulating the usage of "any" grills, whether charcoal or gas, under a covered combustible walkway, combustible decks or covered combustible balconies.
Under the International Fire Code: Chapter 3 General Precautions Against Fire,
Please take the necessary precautions to avoid any fires at your facility and avoid any possible citations or fines. A citation shall be issued to the person, owning or operating the grill being used at the time within the prohibited area. The E.P.F.D. will allow the storage w/o the propane tank of the "grills" on the balconies, decks, or walkways. The Fire Department units will report any unauthorized usage to the Fire Prevention Division and we will investigate and shall take the necessary actions to correct the violation.
- Section 305 -- Ignitions Sources, Subsections 305.4 -- Deliberate or negligent burning: It shall be unlawful to deliberately or through negligence set fire to or cause the burning of combustible material in such a manner as to endanger the safety of persons or property.
- Section 308 -- Open Flames, Subsections 308.3.1 - Open-flame cooking devices: Charcoal burners and other open-flame cooking devices shall not be operated on combustible balconies or within 10 feet (3048 mm) of combustible construction.
- Subsection 308.3.1.1 -- Liquefied-petroleum-gas-gas-fueled cooking devices: LP-gas burners having an LP-gas container with a capacity greater than 2.5 pounds [nominal 1 pound (0.454 kg) LP-gas capacity] shall not be located on combustible balconies or within 10 feet (3080 mm) of combustible construction.
Managers: It will be your responsibility to report any unauthorized usage of a grill within the prohibited areas. You may want to make copies of this letter and distribute to the tenants; post the letter in a conspicuous place; or advise your tenants at time of lease/rental agreement.
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