With Independence Day quickly approaching, many are preparing for festivities which usually include grilling and fireworks. It’s no surprise that July is the month with the highest incidence of grilling and firework-related accidents.
The first thing to do to promote safety during the celebration is to check the rules of your association to find out what is explicitly forbidden. Often, grilling will not be allowed on decks and porches made of certain types of flammable wood. Some buildings allow the use of gas grills, but forbid the use of charcoal. Either way, concrete patios and decks, if available, are a better option for grilling.
Regardless of the regulations, practicing general grill safety will lower the chances of an unpleasant or dangerous incident. With gas grills, stay mindful of the smell of gas, which can indicate a possible leak somewhere along the gas line. Because of the potential for leaks, smoking near gas grills is also generally not a good idea. With charcoal grills, keep the use of accelerants to a minimum and wait until the coals are completely cool to dispose of them into an approved container.
Most importantly, don’t leave a hot grill unattended, even for a few minutes, and don’t leave children or pets, which could tip the grill over, near it.
Fireworks have always been a part of the 4th of July, but pose an even bigger threat of injury and property damage. For this reason, they are highly regulated in the state of Illinois and even more so in the Cook County. That does not usually stop people from using them, but setting off fireworks near your multi-unit building is a particularly bad idea because of the high potential risk to others and their property. The city of Chicago and most of the surrounding suburbs have firework shows that are more spectacular than any individual displays, and can be safely enjoyed from afar.