Sizzling Summer Safety

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- Every year Americans look forward to summer vacation, traveling, camping, family reunions and picnics.

However, outdoor activities bring the risk of fire and injuries due to outdoor cooking and grilling accidents and improper use of flammable liquids.

Annually more than 8,000 Americans are injured by flammable liquids, and outdoor cooking fires.

Spring and summertime should be a time for fun and happy memories. Knowing these fire safety tips and following instructions will help everyone have a safe summer.

All cooking operations should be constantly supervised. Children and pets need to remain a safe distance from cooking devices. Do not wear loose fitting clothing while cooking, because many fabrics are easily ignited.

The U.S. Fire Administration's National Fire Data Center reported that grill fires on residential properties resulted in an estimated average of 10 deaths, 100 injuries and $37 million in property loss each year.

Perhaps more telling, nearly half of at-home grill fires occurred between 5 and 8 p.m. and more than half of all such fires occurred between May and August. The center also concluded that mechanical failure of malfunction was by "by far the leading ignition factor for grill fires."

Prior to beginning any outdoor cooking always perform a safety check to ensure all gas connections are tight, gas tubes are not blocked and there are not any gas leaks. Most of the gas grill fires and explosions were caused by gas leaks, blocked tubes and overfilled propane tanks

Another thing you should consider is non-gas grills. If you're utilizing solid cooking fuels (wood, charcoal, etc.) for your outdoor cooking, it will probably involve the use of flammable liquids.

Always utilize an approved starter fluid and never substitute gas or kerosene. Only add starter fluid to unlit, cool solid fuels; the majority of burn injuries occur when individuals add fluid to hot coals. Use extreme caution when performing the initial lighting, accumulations of flammable gas can often cause violent ignitions.

Outdoor cooking devices (grills, cookers, deep fryers, etc.) should never be used inside living quarters, carports, garages, under overhangs or under wooden pavilions.

Whenever cooking outdoors, always have a serviceable ABC-fire extinguisher readily available to mitigate unsafe conditions.

If you experience an emergency situation or require medical assistance, call 911.

If you're calling from a cell phone on base and Okaloosa County Fire Department answers the 911 line, you must state you are on Hurlburt Field. OCFD will then redirect the call to the Hurlburt Field Fire Department Communication Center within one to three seconds.