Division of Fire Safety Continues to Encourage Fire Safety as Summer Winds Down

  • Posted on: 08/5/2022

Being Mindful of the Following Tips Can Ensure the Remainder of Your Summer is a Safe One

TRENTON, NJ – As we approach the latter part of the summer, the Division of Fire Safety is encouraging residents to remain vigilant when it comes to summer fire safety. As we spend time with family and friends during outdoor activities including barbecues, parties, travel to summer homes, and camping, it is important to be aware of the following tips to keep you and your family safe.

“With only a few weeks left in the summer, we’re all trying to enjoy as much time as we can with our families and friends,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “With a few simple safety tips, you can help avoid fire and keep summer activities safe.”

“Summer fire safety applies to more than just fireworks for the summer,” said State Fire Marshal and New Jersey Division of Fire Safety Director Rich Mikutsky. “With the use of outdoor cooking devices and more people participating in outdoor activities, the risk of fire can increase. It is important to follow these safety tips to avoid fire hazards.”

The National Fire Protection Association suggests the following advice to lessen the risk of fire.

Motor homes, campers, and recreational vehicles are used for living and traveling. Each year, fires in them cause deaths, injuries, and millions of dollars in damages. Fires can start in the kitchen. They can start in the engine area. Sometimes the fires are electrical.

  • Install smoke alarms. Make sure they work.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you cook. Keep anything that can catch fire away from the stovetop.
  • Only use one heat-producing appliance plugged into a receptacle outlet at a time. Major appliances should be plugged directly into a wall receptacle outlet.
  • Refrigerators, furnaces, ovens and stovetops use propane. Check them for leaks. Keep an updated gas leak detector on board.
  • Have your propane system inspected to make sure it still works properly.
  • Know two ways out. Make sure windows open easily. Have everyone practice the home fire escape plan.
  • Do not keep camping heaters and lanterns on while sleeping.
  • Before setting up a campfire, make sure it is allowed.
  • If campfires are allowed, they need to be at least 25 feet away from anything that can burn.
  • Keep a portable fire extinguisher on board.

Lighting used to improve the look and safety of our homes, electric tools to make our outdoor work easier, and power lines to our home, all need to be handled with care.

  • Use lighting and power tools that are listed by a qualified test laboratory and make sure they are made for outdoor use.
  • Store your electrical tools indoors.
  • Keep electric tools away from children.
  • Keep the area around your electric meter and other electrical equipment clear.
  • Check lighting and extension cords for damage before using. Replace any damaged cords right away.
  • Use extension cords that are listed by a qualified test laboratory and are marked for outdoor use.
  • Extension cords are not meant for long-term use.

A portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives; but portable extinguishers have limitations. Because fire grows and spreads so rapidly, the #1 priority for residents is to get out safely.

  • Use a portable fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing; everyone has exited the building; the fire department has been called or is being called; and the room is not filled with smoke.
  • To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS:
    • Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you, and release the locking mechanism.
    • Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
    • Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
    • Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
  • For the home, select a multi-purpose extinguisher (can be used on all types of home fires) that is large enough to put out a small fire, but not so heavy as to be difficult to handle.
  • Choose a fire extinguisher that carries the label of an independent testing laboratory.
  • Read the instructions that come with the fire extinguisher and become familiar with its parts and operation before a fire breaks out. Local fire departments or fire equipment distributors often offer hands-on fire extinguisher trainings.
  • Install fire extinguishers close to an exit and keep your back to a clear exit when you use the device so you can make an easy escape if the fire cannot be controlled. If the room fills with smoke, leave immediately.
  • Know when to go. Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is safe escape. Every household should have a home fire escape plan and working smoke alarms.
  • Only adults who know how to operate it should use it. Only use it if the fire is small and can be contained. Make sure everyone else is leaving. Make sure someone is calling the fire department.

Downed utility lines, power company blackouts, or summer storms can all lead to power outages. Many people turn to a portable generator for a temporary solution without knowing the risks. 

  • Generators should be used in well ventilated locations outside at least 5 feet away from all doors, windows, and vent openings. Measure the 5-foot distance from the generator exhaust system to the building.
  • Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open.
  • Place generators so that exhaust fumes can’t enter the home through windows, doors or other openings in the building. The exhaust must be directed away from the building.
  • Make sure to install carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for correct placement and mounting height.
  • Turn off generators and let them cool down before refueling. Never refuel a generator while it is hot.
  • Store fuel for the generator in a container that is intended for the purpose and is correctly labeled as such. Store the containers outside of living areas. 
  • If you see a downed power line, move away from it. The ground and power lines – up to 35 feet – may be energized.
  • You cannot tell whether or not a power line is energized by looking at it. Assume that all downed power lines are live.

The New Jersey Division of Fire Safety serves as the central focus for the State's fire service community and the general public in all matters relating to fire safety through the development and enforcement of the State Uniform Fire Code, public education programs and firefighter training programs.

DCA offers a wide range of programs and services, including energy assistance, housing vouchers, affordable housing production, fire and building safety, community planning and development, local government management and finance, and disaster recovery and mitigation.

For more information about DCA, visit https://nj.gov/dca/ or follow the Department on social media: 

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