Fourth of July safety tips from firefighters

There are nearly 9,000 gas grill fires every year. (Source: WOIO)
There are nearly 9,000 gas grill fires every year. (Source: WOIO)

EUCLID, OH (WOIO) - The Fourth of July is one of the busiest times of the year for firefighters.

They want to make sure you stay safe enjoying fireworks and backyard cookouts.

Many of the calls they respond to can actually be prevented.

Cleveland 19 News spoke with firefighters at Euclid Fire Department's Station 1 before the holiday kicked off.

Setting off your own fireworks is illegal in Ohio, but Lt. Bill Mastroianni knows many people do it anyway.

He doesn't recommend it, and he's speaking from experience.

"But if you are going to use them, we encourage no children using them. And sparklers used by the supervision of an adult. Because sparklers can actually blow hotter than a blowtorch which is about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, hotter than fires we go into. So there can be severe burn injuries, eye injuries," Mastroianni said.

He says 70 percent of the injuries they see are burns, often to people's hands and fingers.

He'd rather see you go to your city's professional fireworks show, but if you do light off your own, he says keep a garden hose ready.

A lot of houses catch on fire because of fireworks and grilling.

"If you're going to use a charcoal grill, we recommend using it in a well-ventilated area. There are several deaths each year from improper use of charcoal grills due to carbon monoxide poisoning," he said.

No matter what kind of grill you have, firefighters say you should keep it at least 10 feet away from your house or deck rails.

Lt. Mastroianni says there are nearly 9,000 gas grill fires every year that cause over $100 million in structural damage.

"We do recommend when you plug your gas line to your gas connection to check for leaks, cracks, breaks, any fragile parts in it, run it under soapy water to see if you get a bubble to make sure that gas is not going to leak out," Mastroianni said.

Firefighters say a major reason gas grills catch on fire is a leak from the hose.

They say you should have a 3-foot safety zone around your grill, and do not allow children or pets any closer. And never leave your grill unattended when it's on.

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