FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 30, 2014

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461


Safe Kids Kansas, KDHE, KHP Urge Parents to Practice Summer Fire Safety

SafeKids Kansas          Kansas Highwat Patrol          KDHE

Topeka, Kan. – Summertime means spending more time outdoors for many Kansas families.  Summer is also when there is an increase in visits to the emergency room due to fire and burn injury.  Barbecue grills, campfires and fireworks can cause serious injuries to children. Safe Kids Kansas, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), and the Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP) remind everyone to practice fire safety to ensure your family has a fun, safe summer.

Statistics show that as summer approaches, we see an increase in the number of fire/burn emergency department (ER) visits in Kansas.  Kansas Hospital Association data from 2007 to 2010 show fire/burn ER visits peaked in the month of July.  This is likely due to the increase in use of fireworks. In 2013 more than a third of Kansas hospitals reported 133 injuries due to fireworks according to the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

It is no surprise that many families enjoy the sparkles and booms of fireworks.  But it is important to recognize that fireworks are explosive and can be dangerous. More than half of the firework injuries reported by Kansas hospitals in 2013 were to children zero to 18 years old, according to the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office. In addition, it is important to note that many minor injuries due to fireworks are not even reported.

“Even when handled correctly, fireworks can sometimes be defective or simply unpredictable,” said Cherie Sage, Safe Kids Kansas.  “Even sparklers, which are typically viewed by parents as relatively harmless fireworks for children, cause serious burn injuries, accounting for one-third of the injuries to children under five in the U.S.”

Follow these fireworks safety tips:

Many families enjoy camping during the summer months and making s‘mores around the campfire is often part of that tradition.  Be fire smart when you head for the great outdoors, and be prepared to take extra precautions when you may be far from a water source.

Follow these campfire safety tips:

When extinguishing the fire, drown it with water. If you do not have water, use dirt. Continue adding and stirring until all material is cooled. However, do not bury coals, as they can smolder and start to burn again.

Grilling food outdoors is a national summer pastime. But before lighting up the grill, know the facts and keep safety in mind. Gas grills were involved in an average of 7,100 home fires every year from 2006 to 2010 in the U.S., while charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were involved in an annual average of 1,200 home fires, according to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA). Grill fires at home are estimated to cause an average of 10 deaths, 100 injuries, and $37 million in property loss each year in the U.S.

Follow these grilling safety tips:

Safe Kids Kansas, KDHE and KHP urge parents to practice these safety tips to reduce the risk of a fire or a trip to the emergency room and ensure this summer is a safe one.

For more information about fire safety, visit www.safekids.org.