SALT LAKE CITY — As temperatures in Utah continue to rise, it is important to remember that so does the likelihood of fires. Knowing how to be safe and how to reduce your possibility of starting a fire can save your home, your car, your campground or even your life. It's also important to know what to do if you experience a fire.
There are several things you can do to protect your home from the threat of fire including creating a defensible perimeter around your home by removing debris, woodpiles and making sure no tree limbs touch your home or roof. It is also smart to keep your plants and lawn watered, your shrubs trimmed and free from dead and dry leaves.
July is the time for celebrating both our country's independence and Utah's statehood, and what better way to do that than with fireworks!? Although they are beautiful and fun, fireworks can be quite dangerous. Before buying any fireworks, make sure you understand the laws in your area about what (if any) fireworks are legal. If they are legal where you live, make sure to light them outside in an open space far from dry grass or weeds. And always have water handy!
Did you know that cooking is the leading cause of home fires? Whether you are barbequing or making stir-fry on the stove, make sure your equipment is clean and that you have a fire extinguisher handy for grease fires. If a fire starts, turn the heat off, cover with a pot or metal lid or use a fire extinguisher. If that does not work, get away and call 9-1-1 immediately.
All homes should have at the very least one working smoke alarm and preferably one on each floor, including the basement. Each alarm should be checked monthly and the batteries should be changed annually. This is the best way to monitor your home 24 hours a day and seven days a week - whether you're awake or asleep.
Do you and your family have an escape plan should your house catch on fire? Do you have a way to get out of windows on higher floors? These are important plans to have so that when danger strikes you already know what to do. We recommend practicing this plan with your family every year to keep it fresh in your mind.
Summer is the perfect time in Utah for hiking and biking, and it is important to remember that our cars can get very hot as we drive. So, make sure when you get to the trailhead not to park over dry grass or weeds that could get ignited by the car's heat.
<span style="font-weight:bold;font-size:18px;color:#2354ac;">Out and about</span>
One of the best parts about camping is sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows, but without properly managing a fire, it can become very dangerous. Make sure your fire is made in a fire pit, far from dry or flammable materials. Make sure to always manage your fire so it does not get out of hand. NEVER leave a campfire unattended. Because as Smokey the Bear says, "Only YOU can prevent wildfires."
Did you know that by July of 2012, 20 fires had been started last year by target shooters, including the Dump Fire, which burned 5,507 acres and cost $2.1 million to fight? The heat of bullets mixed with the hot, dry earth can be a very dangerous mix. Consider either visiting indoor shooting ranges or taking a couple months off from target shooting during the summer.
Sometimes fires are not preventable, but most times they are. It just takes planning, smart decisions and quick action. Our goal here is to keep you from having to do what we all learned in elementary school: stop, drop and roll!
Have fun this summer and play safely!
Rolayne Fairclough handles media relations, government relations and community involvement for AAA Utah.