Loudoun County Fire Marshal Offers Summer Safety Tips
Summer is here and there are several important fire safety tips that the Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office wants you to be aware of:
Use of grills for outdoor cooking requires extreme care, especially when used on wood decks or near the home. Fires can start from ashes from charcoal grills that spill or are dumped on or near decks. Keep a water hose close by and douse any ashes that fall on the deck, grass, or mulch nearby. All grills produce enough radiant heat to ignite nearby combustibles, so it is recommended that they be clear from all combustibles by at least 10 feet. Finally, it is illegal in Loudoun County to use grills that produce flame on balconies of apartments and condominiums. It is also illegal to store exchange type propane tanks for grills on these balconies.
Smoking on or near decks or areas where wood mulch is used should be discouraged. Over the years in Loudoun County, as well as the region, there have been fires that were caused by improper disposal of smoking materials. These materials have ignited mulch which spreads to shrubs or siding materials, or they have simply ignited decking material or other nearby combustibles. Anyone smoking on or near a deck is encouraged to place all smoking materials in metal ash trays that have a lid or are filled with a non-combustible material such as sand. Never place smoking materials in flower pots as some potting soil is combustible. Wood or similar cellulose mulch should be pulled away from the base of a house 12 to 18 inches if near combustible siding of shrubs.
Soon, the July 4th holiday will be here and with it will come the use of fireworks. All fireworks are dangerous if not used properly. They produce temperatures in excess of 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. The can cause burns and start fires. Many people choose to use illegal fireworks- those that explode, rise into the air, travel laterally on the ground or shoot projectiles into the air- which are purchased in other states. Possession of illegal fireworks could result in a criminal charge, fine and/or jail sentence. It is recommended to attend the public fireworks displays that are hosted throughout Loudoun County. The dates, times and locations are listed online at www.loudoun.gov/firemarshal.
If persons choose to use permissible fireworks, it is recommended to purchase only from those retail stands in Loudoun County. These locations have been inspected to ensure only those fireworks approved for consumer use are sold. These fireworks should always be used with adult supervision, and it is recommended that the area be wet down prior to and after their use. Always place the remaining products in a metal container and wet them down as well.
Questions may be directed to the Fire Marshal’s Office at 703-737-8600 during normal business hours, or you may access safety information, grill recommendations, and appropriate firework purchases online at www.loudoun.gov/firemarshal.