SPRINGFIELD - With summer in full swing so are summer activities. The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) would like to remind residents to be safe this summer.

“Safety should always be a priority when engaging in common summer activities,” said Fire Marshal Matt Perez. “Enjoying summer activities is great but it is important that you follow all rules, regulation and safety instructions. They are there to keep you safe.”

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Here are some safety tips to remember when using barbecue grills, fire pits, and fireworks.

• When grilling out this summer, keep in mind that propane and charcoal grills should only be used outside and should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under leaves and overhanging branches. Keep your grill clean and remove all grease or fat build up. Both of these practices will help prevent accidental fires from occurring.
• Always make sure to watch children and pets around grills.
• If campfires are permitted on campgrounds, be sure they are set at least 25 feet away from any clothing, debris or structure that can burn.
• Before you light a campfire, make sure to clear away dry leaves, sticks, low branches and shrubs. Avoid burning on windy, dry days. Both can cause a fire that can get out of control quickly.
• Never leave a fire unattended. It only takes a few minutes for it to spread and cause damage.
• Always make sure you have a hose, bucket of water, or shovel and dirt/sand nearby to put out a fire and be sure to it is completely out before leaving the site.

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Another great part of the summer is the 4th of July and fireworks. It is important to remember that fireworks are dangerous and best left in the hands of those licensed to use them.

Utilizing fireworks improperly can lead to accidental fires and injury. An average of 18,000 fires are reported each year as a result of improper use of fireworks. In addition, thousands of burns and eye injuries are reported yearly. Injuries are not just from commercial fireworks but occur from common ones that are often purchased in local supermarkets.

Sparklers account for roughly one-quarter of fireworks injuries. They heat up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and can cause severe burns if not handled with care. Never allow children to use fireworks. All adults must have a permit to use commercial fireworks.

More information and fire safety tips can be found on the Office of the State Fire Marshals website.

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