10 Fire Safety and Burn Prevention Tips for the Fourth of July

Jun 29, 2016


Charcoal grill on a red, white, and blue grill

Summer has officially arrived and Independence Day is coming up.  It’s a time for fun outdoor activities like cookouts, camping and fireworks. Each year, approximately 10,000 Americans get hurt or burned from fireworks. Almost half of those injured are children age 14 and younger. Take extra care this Fourth of July holiday and at all of your summer celebrations by ensuring that fire-related accidents do not spoil your summertime fun.

Dr. James Gallagher, director of the William Randolph Hearst Burn Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center recommends the following safety tips to avoid burns from barbecues, fireworks and other popular summer activities:

  • Always keep children away from all fireworks and from the grill!
  • Before using your grill, make sure all of the parts—including the gas tank—are in good condition. If you notice any leaks, cracks or breaks, replace the parts before using.
  • Barbeque grills should always be used outside and at least 10 feet away from all buildings, deck railings and overhanging branches.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.
  • Use barbecue utensils with long handles, wear short or tight-fitting sleeves and have a garden hose or bucket of sand available to put out small grill flare-ups.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher close to the grill for emergency use.
  • Check out local professional fireworks displays instead of trying to do it yourself. In the weeks leading up to and following the Fourth of July, injuries from fireworks and sparklers send hundreds of people per day to the emergency room.
  • Stay at least 500 feet away from all fireworks displays. Fireworks can get as hot as 1,200°F and can lead to devastating burns, fires and even death.
  • Build campfires in designated fire pits and supervise children around campfires when camping. 
  • Always apply sunscreen to the skin at least 30 minutes before going outdoors. Reapply every 1-2 hours and after swimming, sweating, or exercising—even on cloudy days.

In addition, don’t forget to stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluids to avoid heat illness. Keep these tips in mind as you enjoy the warm weather season.

For more information, please call (866) NYP-NEWS. For more practical fire safety tips, visit the Burn Center webpage at www.nyp.org/clinical-services/burn-center


NewYork-Presbyterian is one of the nation’s most comprehensive healthcare delivery networks, focused on providing innovative and compassionate care to patients in the New York metropolitan area and throughout the globe. In collaboration with two renowned medical school partners, Weill Cornell Medicine and Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, NewYork-Presbyterian is consistently recognized as a leader in medical education, groundbreaking research and clinical innovation.

NewYork-Presbyterian has four major divisions: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is ranked #1 in the New York metropolitan area by U.S. News and World Report and repeatedly named to the magazine’s Honor Roll of best hospitals in the nation; NewYork-Presbyterian Regional Hospital Network is comprised of leading hospitals in and around New York and delivers high-quality care to patients throughout the region; NewYork-Presbyterian Physician Services connects medical experts with patients in their communities; and NewYork-Presbyterian Community and Population Health features the hospital’s ambulatory care network sites and operations, community care initiatives and healthcare quality programs, including NewYork Quality Care, established by NewYork-Presbyterian, Columbia and Weill Cornell.

NewYork-Presbyterian is one of the largest healthcare providers in the U.S. Each year, nearly 29,000 NewYork-Presbyterian professionals deliver exceptional care to more than 2 million patients.
For more information, visit www.nyp.org.