GEORGETOWN — With summer on the horizon and spring in full swing, Chief Fred A. Mitchell Jr. and the Georgetown Fire Department wish to remind residents of important warm weather safety tips.
“As people head outside enjoying the warm weather, we encourage all residents to review these tips to stay safe this summer,” Chief Mitchell said.
The Georgetown Fire Department reminds all residents that in addition to the following safety tips, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic people should be continuing to practice aggressive social distancing by keeping a six-foot distance between others, and wearing an appropriate face covering whenever possible if walking outdoors.
To prevent illness and injuries, the Georgetown Fire Department recommends the following safety tips from the American Red Cross and National Safety Council:
- Hot cars can be deadly. Never leave children or pets in your vehicle. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach over 100 degrees, even on a 70 degree day.
- Do not leave hand sanitizer in your vehicle. The heat will render it less effective.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, like water.
- Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
- Slow down and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day, which is typically around 3 p.m.
- Avoid extreme temperature changes.
- Take frequent breaks if working outdoors.
- Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Make sure they have plenty of cool water.
- Learn to recognize and treat heat illnesses.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers the following safety tips for pedestrians when walking in public places:
- Be predictable; follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
- Keep alert at all times; don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.
- Whenever possible, cross streets at crosswalks or intersections, where drivers expect pedestrians. Look for cars in all directions, including those turning left or right.
- If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. Wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross safely; continue watching for traffic as you cross.
- Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach to make sure you are seen.
- Be visible at all times. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night.
- Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways, or backing up in parking lots.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking; they impair your abilities and your judgment.
Bicyclists are also reminded to take safety precautions. The National Safety Council offers the following safety tips:
- Always inspect your bike prior to riding.
- The seat should be adjusted to the proper height and locked in place.
- Make certain all parts are secure and working properly.
- Check that the tires are inflated properly.
- Make sure the bike is equipped with reflectors on the rear, front, pedals and spokes.
- A horn or bell, a rear-view mirror and a bright headlight are also recommended.
- Make certain drivers can see you.
- Wear neon, fluorescent or other bright clothing.
- Whenever possible, ride during the day.
- If you must ride at night, wear reflective clothing and use flashing lights.
- Always wear a helmet. Helmets appropriate for bicycling should be worn by everyone – adults and children – on every bike ride regardless of length of the ride. Make certain the helmet is certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
- Follow the rules of the road.
- Get acquainted with traffic laws; bicyclists must follow the same rules as motorists.
- Ride single-file in the direction of traffic.
- Remain alert, keep your head up and look around; watch for opening car doors and other hazards.
- Use hand signals when turning and use extra care at intersections.
- Never hitch onto cars.
- Before entering traffic, stop and look left, right, left again and over your shoulder.
The Massachusetts Department of Fire Services has several tips for grilling safely in the coming weeks and months:
- Propane and charcoal grills should only be used outdoors.
- Place grills away from the house, deck railings and out from under eaves of overhanging branches.
- Grills should only be used on first floor porches, decks, or patios if there is an outdoor stairway to the ground, or if the porch is at ground level.
- Keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from the grilling area. Children should never play near grills or propane cylinders.
Gas grill safety
- Make sure the lid of a gas grill is open when you light it. Propane can build up inside and when ignited, the lid may blow off.
- Check that all connections are tight before turning on the gas.
- Clean the grease trap every time you grill.
- Check the propane tank hose for potential leaks by applying a light soap and water solution to the hose using a brush or spray bottle. See if any bubbles appear around the hose. If no bubbles appear, the grill is safe to use.
- If you smell gas while cooking, turn the grill off and move away from it. Call 911 from a safe location. Do not move the grill.
- Store propane cylinders upright in an outdoor, shaded area. Cylinders should not be used, stored or transported where they can be exposed to high temperatures.
Charcoal grill safety
- Use only charcoal starter fluid. Never used gasoline or kerosene to start a fire in a grill and never add lighter fluid to burning briquettes or hot coals.
- Always use charcoal grills in a well-ventilated area. Charcoal briquettes emit carbon monoxide, which can be deadly.
- Properly dispose of grill ashes. Allow the coals to burn out completely and then cool for 48 hours before disposal. If you must dispose of ashes before they are completely cooled, thoroughly soak them in water before putting them in a metal container.
According to the American Red Cross, 10 people die daily due to unintentional drowning and approximately 20% of those people are under the age of 14.
Pool safety tips from the American Red Cross include:
- Per Massachusetts regulation, pools should be surrounded by a four-foot-high barrier that encloses the pool and has an access gate that self-closes, locks and opens outward from the swimming area (even if you don’t have children).
- Fasten a safety cover over the pool when it is not in use, and remove ladders to further prevent access into the pool. Pool alarms are required whenever a house door leads directly to a pool deck.
- Never leave children unattended while they are in or near a pool, and make sure they have an adult to accompany them into the water. Young or inexperienced swimmers should always wear a life jacket or inflatable arm flotation devices.
- Make sure children stay away from pool drains, pipes or any other openings to avoid getting trapped or hurt.
- Set safety instructions and share them with family, friends, neighbors and anyone else who is near or uses the pool. Advise children to stay away from pool deep ends, and to always walk, never run near the pool.
- Keep your pool or hot tub water clean and clear. Maintain proper chemical levels, circulation and filtration. Regularly test and adjust the chemical levels to minimize the risk of earaches, rashes or more serious diseases.
- Never use the pool if the chemical levels are not correct, or if the water is cloudy and you can’t see the bottom.
- Take a CPR course for adults and children to be prepared if an emergency situation occurs. Update skills regularly.
- Watch the local weather reports and do not swim if thunderstorms are in the forecast.
- Those who are 21 and older should drink responsibly if they choose to consume alcoholic beverages when by the pool. Overindulging increases the risk for injuries or accidental drowning.
- Avoid using glass containers by the pool. They could break and leave glass around the pool or in the water.