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Get Ready for Summer with Fire Safety Tips From the Palo Alto Fire Department

Learn Some Fire Safety Tips to Help Ensure a Safe and Fun Summer Ahead

Check Your Smoke Detectors

Complete HVAC (Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) Maintenance

Store Gas Properly

It’s important that you never store propane gas cylinders indoors. When storing them outdoors, make sure they are not directly in sunlight or in high-pressure areas, as the heat can cause an explosion and fire.

Clean Exhaust Fans

Many homeowners forget to remove the debris in their vents and clean their exhaust fans. Taking the time to clean them — and not overrun them — ensures they don’t overheat and start a fire.

Maintain Your Lawnmower Properly

Don’t forget to read the instructions and follow the maintenance schedule on your lawnmowing equipment. Every time you use your lawnmower, make sure to remove the grass clippings and debris from the mufflers, cutting unit, and engines, and don’t refuel your mower if it is overheated.

Avoid Fireworks

All types of fireworks, even those labeled “safe and sane,” are illegal in Palo Alto, and most of Santa Clara County, including large bottle rockets, Roman candles, firecrackers, and even sparklers. This is because any firework can be a fire hazard, especially in the dry months when wildfires can easily ignite. A great alternative to fireworks is to attend the City of Palo Alto’s July 4th Celebration, with lots of safe family fun. If you’re eager to see fireworks, please go to a professionally supervised firework event this summer. Some local professional fireworks shows happening in 2022 include those at the Redwood City Port and Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View.

Clean and Store Your Grill Correctly

To help keep your home out of the line of fire, should you have a grill accident while barbecuing, it’s always a good idea to keep your grill a good distance away from your home and any overhanging eves or branches. It’s strongly recommended that you remove grease build-up and other debris each time you use it. Never leave a grill unattended; if you must leave, even if it’s just for a minute, turn it off before leaving as an animal, child or wind gust can topple it and cause a fire.

Below are some additional safety tips while grilling at home or over a campfire.

Keep a Water Bucket and Extinguisher Close to the Grill

Prevent Grease Buildup

For any grill you might be using, it’s important to keep it clean and free from grease build-up and accumulation, as this can easily cause a fire.

Always Make Sure the Flames are Out Before Leaving

One of the most dangerous things that can happen during summer adventures is falling asleep by a campfire. Embers can easily drift to nearby vegetation and start a small fire. The best course of action, therefore, is to put out your campfire totally before sleeping. You can do this by dumping water or sand on it. The same applies to BBQs. Ensure that your propane valve and vents on the grill are tightly shut when you are done.

Campfire Safety Tips

Inspect Your Surroundings

Think carefully before choosing a location for your campfire, prioritizing locations with an existing fire pit. If that isn’t available, it’s vital to build your fire in a safe location where there is no dry grass and overhanging tree branches. Be sure to clear away all the vegetation from the area you plan to set up your fire, dig a fire pit and surround it with rocks.

Store Flammable Liquids Properly

Never store highly flammable liquids like gasoline, lighter fluid, or kerosene close to your campfire, as stray flames can easily ignite them and start a fire.

Stop, Drop and Roll

Ensure that the people you are going camping with know how to stop drop and roll, and make sure to practice with kids, as clothes can sometimes catch fire.

Keep Campfires Small

Since large campfires are often difficult to control, and are more likely to cause drifting embers, it’s recommended to keep campfires small so they are easy to control and put out if necessary.

Keep the Campfire Away from Your Tent

People are often tempted to make the campfire close to their tents to stay warm on cool summer nights. However, the campfire should be a good distance away from your tent for safety and for air quality. Sometimes smoke can blow into the tent and irritate lungs. It’s also a good idea to invest in tents made from fire-resistant materials.

Keep Campfire Watch

If you want to keep the campfire running, assign someone to always keep an eye on the campfire. Otherwise, it’s recommended you put the campfire out if you are leaving or going to bed.

Come Prepared

Do not start a campfire if you don’t have the means or equipment to put it out. Always keep a shovel, buckets of water, and a fire extinguisher that you can easily use to put out the fire in the event of an emergency or when you are done using it.

Know How to Put the Fire Out

Be sure to douse your campfire with water and bury it with dirt and ash. Then douse the campfire with water again. This may seem like an overkill, but it will go a long way in preventing the fire from building after you leave.

Use “Ready, Set, Go” Approach to Mitigate Wildfire Impact on Your Home and Family

  • Set — Prepare your evacuation plan and emergency supply kit.
  • GoEvacuate as soon as it is recommended by fire officials.




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