Spreading summer safety

Published 11:38 am Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Each year, summer brings triple-digit temperatures, plenty of outdoor activities and hours of family togetherness to neighborhoods and parks throughout Pelham.

But summer can also bring a greater risk for accidents and injuries, according to the Pelham Fire Department.

The department has partnered with the National Fire Protection Association to release a list of safety tips for children and their parents to heed this summer and throughout the year.

“Believe it or not, when children are in the school system, they have less time on their hands,” said Pelham Fire Marshall Dewitt Marcum. “It seems like when kids are out for the summer, we have more issues with kids being injured.

“Plus, you’ve got a lot of different activities going on this time of year,” Marcum added. “On the Fourth of July, you’ve got a lot of people using fireworks. And you’ve got a lot of people cooking out and doing outdoor activities, too.”

The National Fire Protection Association is encouraging children and adults who ride bikes, skateboards and skates to always wear a certified helmet, properly fitting wrist, elbow and kneepads, and to look for vehicles when riding on public roads.

When grilling out, residents should keep their grills away from flammable structures, supervise their grills, never pour lighter fluid on lit charcoal, ensure gas hoses and connections are tight and secure, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions while servicing or repairing grills, according to the department.

Because fireworks are illegal within the Pelham city limits, the department is encouraging residents to “leave fireworks to the professionals.”

With Oak Mountain State Park and several lakes within close proximity, Marcum said Pelham residents should pay special attention to water safety and camping precautions this summer.

“I would say, in the summertime, water safety is probably the biggest thing,” Marcum said. “There are always a lot of kids going to the pool and the lake, and they may even be camping there at the lake.”

Residents should only swim in approved areas, ensure the water’s depth before entering and always wear a certified life vest when using water vehicles.

Boat owners should also shut down the craft’s motor, fans and heating devices before refueling, and immediately wipe up fuel spills.

Campers should always camp in flame-retardant tents placed away from the campfire, use only battery-powered lighting devices in enclosed areas and build a tent upwind from the fire.

When building a campfire, campers should clear all vegetation and build a fire pit, fuel the fire with only dry kindling and put the fire out with dirt or water when going to sleep or leaving the campsite.