Many of us spend our summer months outside camping with family as well as having a campfire. There is nothing quite like the sound of a crackling fire, telling stories, sharing laughs and cooking s’mores with those that we love. Campfires bring family and friends closer together. But campfire mishaps can cause injuries as well as uncontrolled fires. With a few safety tips, you can prevent these accidents:
- Build your fire in a designated ring/pit at least 15 feet away (preferably downwind from tent, brush, and other flammable objects)
- Keep children at a safe distance with a “circle of safety” at least 3 feet from the fireedge
- Keep the fire small and manageable, with water nearby
- Talk to children about campfire safety
- Completely extinguish the fire and coals by procuring water, stirring, and pouring water again until it is cool. Never bury a fire.
- Use an accelerant such as gasoline, kerosene or aerosol sprays to start a fire
- Leave a fire unattended- EVER!
- Throw anything other than wood into the fire
- Build a fire if conditions are dry or if forest fire danger is high
- Assume the fire pit is safe when arriving at a campsite. Coals from previous campers can still be hot!
Did you know that 70% of campfire burns are caused by embers rather than flames and that fire pits retain heat up to 12 hours after being extinguished- hot enough to cause a severe burn. Additionally, humans cause 9 out of every 10 wildfires and that more than 2.8 million acres are burned by these wildfires (NIFC.gov). Before having a campfire, make sure that they are permitted in your area. Should a burn injury occur… STOP, DROP, & ROLL if clothing catches fire. Also, cool the burn with COOL (not cold) water and remove all clothing and jewelry from the injured area. Cover the area with a clean dry sheet or bandages and seek medical attention.
Building campfires comes with responsibility. A campfire that is not properly built, maintained, and extinguished can quickly become a hazard to the people, animals, and land around it. Remember to do your part and stay fire safe!
Message from the Holy Rosary Trauma Program