Commotion & Distractions
Summer is a great time for family get togethers. However, there will be lots of commotion and distractions, and no host can possibly monitor all hazards at all times. Ask some of your adult guests if they’ll assist you in monitoring certain hazards such as guests’ smoking and proper disposal of smokers’ materials, enforcing a kids-free zone around candles, torches, heaters and barbecues, and safe lighter and match storage, etc.
Alcohol & Tobacco:
Improper disposal of smokers’ materials can easily lead to a fire. Smokers’ materials are the #1 cause of fire fatalities and the #2 cause of fire injuries in Ontario. Provide guests with large, deep safety ashtrays. Safely dispose of cigarette butts by emptying them into a metal bucket with water to completely douse them. Monitor guests’ use of alcohol and tobacco. Alcohol impairment and smoking can be a dangerous mix.
Barbecues & Children:
- Ensure the barbecue is in the care of a responsible adult at all times.
- Establish a 1 metre (3’) safety zone around the barbecue – NO KIDS AND NO PETS ALLOWED.
- Never leave a lit barbecue unattended.
- Never leave unsupervised children near a barbecue.
- Don’t wear loose clothing that may come into contact with the grill and catch fire. Use long-handled barbecue tools and flame resistant oven mitts.
- Secure or remove your barbecue lighter. Keep matches and lighters out of kids’ reach.
Outdoor Candles, Torches & Propane Heaters:
- Adults should monitor candles, bamboo wax torches, citronella torches, heaters, and barbecues at all times.
- Prior to lighting bamboo wax torches, ensure that the bamboo pole is securely supported in an upright position on a flat, non-combustible and heat resistant surface such as a clear area of soil or bucket of sand.
- Maintain a minimum safety clearance of twice the torch’s length from combustible materials such as wood fencing, wood decking, mulch, grass, branches and other vegetation. For example, a 1 metre (3’) torch requires a 2 metre (6’) safety clearance zone from anything that can burn.
- Prior to lighting, trim the candle wicks to a length of 5 to 7 millimetres (1/4”) to prevent high flames.
- Keep burning torches/candles out of the reach of children and pets.
- Never leave burning torches or candles unattended.
- Keep adequate extinguishing agent nearby, such as a fire extinguisher, pail of water or garden hose connected to a water supply for emergency purposes.
- Extinguish candles, torches and outdoor heaters before leaving the area or going to bed.
Fireworks & Sparklers:
The Town of Amherstburg established a Fireworks By-Law in May of 2004. Fireworks By-Law #2017-92 regulates the sale and use of fireworks within the Town of Amherstburg. This By-Law stipulates that consumer fireworks may be discharged ONLY on the following dates:
- Victoria Day, or the day immediately preceding or following Victoria Day;
- The day preceding Canada Day and the following days up to and including the 4th of July; and
- New Year’s Eve
In Canada, as a result of many injuries to children, firecrackers have been restricted to approved purchasers since the early 1970’s.
Firecrackers are not considered consumer or family fireworks and cannot be sold or discharged, except for display for traditional ethnic celebrations as permitted by the Chief Fire official or his/her designate. A permit must be obtained to do so from Amherstburg Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Bureau.
Fireworks and sparklers are a definite crowd-pleaser, but can be dangerous if not discharged properly and safely. Continue on to learn more fireworks safety tips.
Don’t Let Your Celebration End at the Hospital!
The majority of injuries (83%) are burns and lacerations (cuts). There have also been cases of dismemberment from fireworks.
The primary area of injury is to the hand/finger, eye and face.
The majority of injuries from fireworks (72%) are from small firecrackers, rockets and sparklers. Only 2% of fireworks-related injuries are as a result of public fireworks displays. The fire service does not recommend family fireworks or informal neighbourhood displays. The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend public fireworks displays conducted by trained professionals.
Sparklers burn at 1800ºF and can easily ignite a child’s clothing or cause blindness if the sparkler should come into contact with a child’s eyes. The metal wire of a burning sparkler heats up when ignited and remains hot for some minutes after burnout and can burn a young child’s hand or fingers. Used sparklers should be immediately soaked in water to avoid injury. Sparklers should not be used by children under 8 years of age and their use should always be closely monitored by an adult.
Teach children how to STOP, DROP & ROLL to put out a fire on their clothing. Teach them how to cool a burn with cool, running water for at least 5 minutes. Seek medical attention, if required. Continue on to learn more fireworks safety tips.