Summer Safety With Assistant Fire Chief Sherman Smith
It’s here! The first official day of summer has passed, meaning summer is in full swing. It also means firework and grilling season is upon us! But before we celebrate a wedding, a graduation, or even our great nations’ Independence Day this July 4th, it’s important we first stop to focus on how we can do so safely.
After all, who wants to spend their 4th of July in the ER or finish off the rest of the summer with an eye patch? Not Ayyeeee. OK, bad pirate joke aside, we here at WCVX thought it would be best to sit down with Cincinnati’s Assistant Fire Chief, Sherman Smith, a 25 year veteran of the Cincinnati Fire Department, to learn how we can keep ourselves and our loved one’s safe this summer as we celebrate.
Here’s what we learned from Assistant Fire Chief Sherman Smith on this weeks Community Focus:
• A number of structure fires that have occurred recently in the Cincinnati area have been attributed to an unattended grill. Much like a small child, or my future husband, you just can’t leave those things on their own. You may be eager to eat what you’ve cooked, but take care of the grill first and check on it often if you choose to walk off or go inside to eat.
• Much in the way that alcohol can impair your ability to drive, it can also impair your ability to manage tasks effectively and responsibly, such as grilling. It may sound silly, but controlling a contained fire be it charcoal or gas is a pretty big deal. Assistant Chief Smith encourages those operating their grill to go ahead and enjoy those adult beverages, but in moderation, especially while grilling or setting off fireworks. Delayed response time due to alcohol impairment can mean the difference between all of your little piggies going to the market, or just a few.
• Grilling can be a right-of-passage for teens whose parents are trying to teach them more responsibility or who genuinely want to pass along their grilling expertise and recipes, but Assistant Chief Smith advises caution before letting them grill solo. We should ensure they are familiar with how to properly operate the grill, where certain safety equipment is located, such as a fire extinguisher and to keep a source of water near by. He also recommends an adult being close by and remaining vigilant.
• Be aware of your surroundings. It sounds silly, but a lot more things are flammable than you’d realize! Be aware of how close kids are playing in proximity to the grill, what type of surface it’s situated on, how close it is to surrounding structures, and err on the side of caution. If you question it, it’s probably not safe.
• Please Please PLEASE do not modify fireworks. It may seem like a great idea to duct tape 15 roman candles together in an effort to blast them off all at once, but, in retrospect, it’s really not. Modifying fireworks can be incredibly dangerous, it’s best to set them off the same way as you bought them-individually; not pieced together and stuffed in a container like some terrible, terrible transformer.
• Is my Firework a Stud or a DUD? We’ve all had one before. You excitedly wait and wait and wait, but nothing happens. Before you get mad and chunk that dud to the side, or worse, grab it and attempt to relight it–give it a few minutes first then pour water on it. Asst. Fire Chief Smith recommends waiting 20 minutes, then dousing it with water. Believe it or not, Duds can reignite or go off later and it’s important we don’t attempt to inspect them, alter them, or do anything other than leave them be and hose them off to ensure they’re disposed of properly, instead of leaving them to go off and start a fire later.
All-in-all if you follow these tips, you, your loved ones and those in our community will be able to have a safe and fun summer.
Community Focus airs every Sunday at 9:15am and 7:15pm on WCVX AM 1160! Be sure to tune in each week to hear the issues impacting OUR community.
Listen to the full audio: