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State Police Director and Fire Marshal urge safety this summer

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MICHIGAN -- On this first official day of summer, Michiganders and visitors alike are urged to make safety a top priority in all seasonal activities while enjoying Pure Michigan at home or on the road. Summer safety tips from Michigan State Police Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue and State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer will help ensure we have a great time and stay safe. Common sense, a watchful eye on the kids, and ongoing vigilance in every activity will help you and the entire family have fun and avoid potential mishaps or worse, tragedies.

Hot cars:

“Hot cars can kill. It’s never, under any circumstance, okay to leave a child in a parked vehicle unattended,” said Etue. “If you see someone or a pet trapped in a hot car, notify authorities immediately.”

  • Always check the vehicle for passengers and pets after parking.
  • The inside of a parked car can soar to 120 degrees in minutes on a 78-degree day; and reach 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes on a 90-degree day.
  • Heat stroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related death for children 14 years old and younger. 
  • If you see a person or pet trapped in a hot car, have the driver paged in the nearby store and/or call 911 immediately.

Fireworks:

“Potential for carbon monoxide poisoning and accidents is a concern in a lot of summer activities, including fireworks, camping and backyard grilling,” said Sehlmeyer. “Remember to keep the kids away from the fireworks, and always keep a fire extinguisher or bucket of water handy when lighting fireworks.”

Fireworks are explosives and any mishaps can result in irreparable injury or death.
If you set off fireworks, always purchase them from an authorized retailer; look for the seller’s license displayed. Never purchase fireworks packaged in brown paper. Follow the manufacturer’s directions.

  • Adult supervision is a “must” with fireworks and sparklers.
  • Keep people and pets out of range before lighting fireworks.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, back away immediately to a safe distance.
  • Light fireworks outdoors on a driveway or other paved surface at least 25 feet away from houses and highly flammable materials such as dry grass or mulch.
  • Sparklers pose a high burn risk; children are being injured by being poked with sparkler wires.
  • Always keep a bucket of water or a running garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Douse spent fireworks and sparklers in a bucket of water before discarding them.
  • Never re-light “dud” fireworks that have not fully functioned; (wait 15 to 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water).
  • A safe way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a professional firework display. 

Grilling:

“Proper grill maintenance is key in preventing fires while cooking outside this summer,” said Sehlmeyer.

  • Grills are not only a fire hazard they release carbon monoxide, a deadly, odorless, colorless gas.
  • Check for leaks or breaks with gas grills.
  • Clean the grill before using to eliminate fire hazard with heavy grease buildup.
  • Never grill indoors or in the garage; never on a balcony.
  • Always grill outdoors.
  • Grill on a level surface at least 10 feet away from the house, garage, deck, anything that can catch fire.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
  • Never leave the grill unattended.  
  • Don't overload the grill with food. Excessive fat and grease dripping on flames can ignite large flare ups.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher close by and know how to use it; keep a spray bottle or bucket of water handy for minor flare ups.

Camping

  • Never use fuel-burning equipment such as gas stoves, heaters, lanterns, and charcoal grills inside a tent, camper, or other enclosed shelter to avoid risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.  
  • Campfires, fire pits -- always keep a bucket of water or fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Protect against mosquitos, ticks, insect bites as they carry disease.
  • Protect against sunburn. Keep covered up and lathered up with a high SPF sunscreen. 
  • Pack an emergency kit.  

 
Swimming

“Drowning can happen quickly and quietly. Children should always be supervised by an adult around pools or any body of water,” said Etue. “Always swim with a buddy and never alone; teach children to never go near the water without an adult.” 

  • Never leave children unattended near any body of water or pool. 
  • If you are around water and your child is missing ALWAYS check the water first. Seconds count.
  • Drowning is the leading injury-related cause of death for children ages 1-4; it’s the third leading cause of injury related death among children age 19 and under. 
  • Always jump in feet first to check the depth of the water before diving in.
  • Never dive in the shallow end of a pool or into above-ground pools.
  • Wear Coast Guard approved life jackets while on a boat or around an open body of water or while playing water sports.  

Boating:

“’Never drink and drive’ applies to operating a boat the same as driving a car,” said Etue. “For everyone’s safety, never operate a boat while impaired by alcohol or drugs.”

  • Equip you and your passengers with Coast Guard approved life jackets.
  • Complete a boater’s safety course to know and understand your boat’s full operation.
  • Know boating laws and be courteous to other boaters.
  • Always check water and weather conditions before taking the boat out.
  • Don’t overload the boat with passengers and cargo.
  • Nearly 71 percent of all boating fatalities are caused by drowning and 85 percent are a result of not wearing a life jacket.

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