Today’s summer preparedness topic is burns.  No, not sunburns, though plenty of those happen as well.  Summer has the highest frequency of severe burns, mostly due to outdoor activities.  The US Fire Administration has put together some important safety tips on how to celebrate the summer holidays without a trip to the ER.

Grilling and Firepits

  • Always grill outside to prevent both fires and smoke inhalation.
  • Let the Grillmaster cook in peace!  Keep a 3ft distance between the grill and any other objects or guests, especially kids and pets.
  • Stay within line of sight of your grill or firepit, or really any open flame
  • Make sure to light your grill after opening the lid.
  • Clean your grill or firepit regularly, and empty out charcoal into a metal can (once cooled).


First, it is important to note that even legal fireworks can be very dangerous.  Even a simple “sparkler” can become as hot as 1200°F.  The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch them performed by trained professionals, such as the ones that will be hosted in Macomb for the 4th of July (information here).  It is also important to note that there are fireworks that may be legal in other states, but illegal in Illinois, including bottle rockets and roman candles.  For more statistics regarding fireworks hazards, see this interesting report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission: Fireworks Report 2018

Treating Burns

Prevention is obviously preferred, but sometimes accidents happen anyway.  For initial first aid of a burn, run the wound under cool water for 3-5 minutes.  Then, wrap it up with a clean, dry cloth or sterile bandage.  See a doctor if the burn is larger than your palm or with any sign of infection (pus, oozing, not fading after 2 weeks).  Any burn that covers a critical part of the body, such as face, hands, feet or groin may need medical attention.  Most importantly, signs of charring or black skin is a sign of 3rd degree burn, which will definitely need emergency care.

Additional Resources

Grilling Fire Safety

Outdoor Fire Safety

Summertime Burn Safety Flyer

Summer Safety Flyer