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Fireworks, grilling and pool safety tips for the summer

Summer means a lot going on, so here are some safety tips as we head into Monday, July 4.

FIREWORKS: Fireworks are a Fourth of July tradition, but if misused they can cause injuries, death, and property damage. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said this week nearly three out of four (74 percent) of the 11,500 fireworks-related injuries in the U.S. in 2021 occurred over a one month period (June 18-July 18). Six people died last year because of firework misuse, the CPSC noted. Property damage caused to a home by legal fireworks, such as a fire, will be covered typically under a standard homeowners insurance policy. The same cannot be said definitively for illegal fireworks because homeowners insurance policies may exclude coverage for what are deemed unlawful activities.

GRILLS: About four out of five (79 percent) barbeque fires involve gas grills, according to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). Patios, terraces, and screened-in porches are the leading locations for grill fires at homes, the USFA has found. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports an annual average of 8,900 blazes requiring a fire department response were started by grills, hibachis, or barbeques between 2014 and 2018. July is the peak month for grill-related fires, which can damage a home, the outdoor structures situated nearby (e.g., garage, shed), and cause injuries to guests.

POOLS: Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death among children aged one to four years old, the CPSC reported earlier this month. There were an average of 389 pool or spa-related fatal drownings per year between 2017-2019, with 73 percent of them involving children younger than five years old, the CPSC said in that same report. Nonfatal drowning injuries involving children younger than 15 years of age spiked 17 percent in 2021 as compared to 2020, the federal government determined. Nonfatal pool accidents, including those involving diving boards, can leave victims permanently disabled.

ALCOHOL: Social host liability laws vary widely but 40-plus states have them on the books. Most of these laws offer an injured person a method to sue the person who served them alcohol while on the host's premises. Criminal charges also may apply under some social host liability laws.


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