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July is always a hectic month for the Fire Department, and this year looks to be no different. There are a number of reasons that July brings an increase in call volume, from extreme weather - high temperatures and lightning storms, to good times gone awry. So this month’s article is all about keeping people safe and maybe bringing that call volume down. Now don’t get us wrong we would love to see you but perhaps not under emergency circumstances.

With the warm weather and festivities ahead, we as warm-blooded Americans perform the age-old tradition of the backyard cookout. Grill fires account for 18 percent of all residential structure and outdoor fires in the US. Fire departments respond to an average of 8,200 fires involving grills, hibachis, and/or barbecues each year. These fire incidents result in an annual average of 15 civilian fatalities, 120 reported civilian injuries, and $75 million in direct property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). So to promote grill safety here are a few tips;

~ Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.

~ The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings, and out from under eaves, overhanging balconies, and tree branches.

~ Keep children and pets away from the grilling area.

~ Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in the trays below the grill.

~ Never leave your grill unattended.

~ You should never attempt to modify your grill or use it for a purpose it is not intended.

Hopefully these tips can help keep your backyard cookout fun and free of any incidents.

It won’t be long now and the neighborhoods will be filled with a slight haze and the smell of sulfur from the many fireworks popping and crackling in the street. In recent years the fireworks industry in the US hit the billion dollar mark for combined revenues, which is pretty good since in most states they can only sell fireworks a few weeks a year. Along with their billion dollars the fireworks industry’s products account for around 10,000 injuries per year in the US according to the American Pyrotechnics Association. So with that said, here is a handful of tips to help you and your family have a safe Fourth of July celebration;

1. Fireworks are for outside use only. Your average sparkler burns at about 1200 degrees, not really something you want in your house.

2. Be aware of your surroundings. Your fireworks show might get a little too exciting if you light it next to the neighbor’s dry decorative bushes.

3. Obey state and local laws pertaining to fireworks. Idaho law states that the only fireworks permitted in this state for consumer use are non-aerial.

4. Always have water handy; a bucketful of water or a garden hose works great.

5. Never modify fireworks you have purchased from a vendor. They are designed to work the way they come and modifying them puts you at risk for injury.

6. Do not try to relight dud fireworks.

7. Keep a safe distance when enjoying your fireworks display and always step back after lighting the fuse.

8. Friends don’t let friends drive drunk or light fireworks drunk.

If you follow these tips your chances of having a fun celebration will be greatly increased.

That’s about it for this month, until next time, don't forget to wave to the boys in the BRT.