Summer Safety Checklist

19 fireworks and grilling tips to keep you out of the ER

July 1, 2014 at 9:29 AM ET

The Fourth of July is almost here. To make your celebration safe, Dee Howard Richards, the battalion chief for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service has a few tips.

When it comes to fireworks, Richards says the safest approach is to leave it to the professionals. Nearly 10,000 Americans are injured by fireworks each year, according to the United States Fire Administration. In fact, between June 22 and July 22 2012, more than 5,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms due to fireworks injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Watch video: Find out how to protect your family from a fire

For those who want to make their own display, Richards offers suggestions to keep it safe.

1.     Always have a bucket or water or a fire extinguisher nearby.

2.     When disposing used fireworks, soak them in a bucket or trash can of water overnight away from the house or garage.

3.     Don’t let children handle fireworks, matches or lighters.

4.     Use fireworks outdoors only

5.     Light only one firework at a time and move away quickly.

6.     Do not throw fireworks or hold them in your hand after they are lit.

7.     Never relight a “dud” firework (wait 15 to 20 minutes and then soak in water)

8.     Do not use fireworks near grass or other flammable materials.

9.     Keep spectators at a safe distance.

Video: Dee Howard Richards of Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service visits TODAY to show viewers how to refresh their fire safety skills.

There are also hazards to consider when planning your barbecue or grill. Almost 5,000 people are injured by charcoal, wood-burning and propane grill fires each year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Richards offers these tips to help you avoid becoming one of those scary statistics.

1.     Keep your grill away from anything that can catch fire, such as your house, car or dry vegetation.

2.     Don’t leave your grill unattended while food is cooking.

3.     Keep children and pets away from the grill.

4.     For charcoal grills, use only starter fluid designed for grills, NEVER use gasoline.

5.     Do not add lighter fluid once the grill is already started.

6.     Before using a gas grill check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel.

7.     Make sure coals are cold before disposing of them.

8.     Don’t wear loose clothing while cooking.

9.     Use barbeque utensils with long handles.

10.   Never barbecue indoors. 

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