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Campfire safety
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By Vice President / Lieutenant Scot Best
April 23, 2024

There’s nothing quite like enjoying the great outdoors with a roaring fire. Sitting under the stars by a crackling fire has its appeal. Campfires bring family and friends together. However, campfire mishaps can cause injuries. Campfire accidents send thousands of people to emergency rooms with burn injuries every year. With a few safety tips, you can prevent these accidents.


SAFETY AROUND THE FIRE
• Before setting up a campfire, be sure it is allowed. Check with your local authorities/campsite.
• If campfires are permitted, they need to be at least 15 feet from tent walls, shrubs, trees or other flammable objects. Beware of low-hanging branches.
• Clear away dry leaves and sticks, overhanging low branches and shrubs.
• Avoid burning on windy, dry days. It is easier for open burning to spread out of control when it is windy and dry.
• Watch children while the fire is burning. Never let children or pets play or stand too close to the fire.
• Attend to the campfire at all times. A campfire left alone for only a few minutes can grow into a damaging fire.
• Keep a campfire small, which is easier to control.
• Never use gasoline or other flammable or combustible liquids.
• Always have a hose, bucket of water, or shovel and dirt or sand nearby to put out the fire. Make sure to put it completely out before leaving the site.
• If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop, and roll. Stop, drop to the ground and cover your face with your hands. Roll over and over or back and forth until the fire is out.
• Treat a burn right away. Cool the burn with cool water for 3 to 5 minutes. Cover with a clean, dry cloth. Get medical help if needed.

EXTINGUISHING YOUR CAMPFIRE
• Allow the wood to burn completely to ash, if possible.
• Pour lots of water on the fire. Drown ALL embers, not just the red ones. Pour until hissing sound stops.
• If you do not have water, stir dirt or sand into the embers with a shovel to bury the fire.
• With your shovel, scrape any remaining sticks and logs to remove any embers. Make sure that no embers are exposed and still smoldering.
• Continue adding water, dirt or sand and stirring with a shovel until all material is cool.
• Remember… If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave


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Ridge Volunteer Fire Department, Inc.
13820 Point Lookout Road
P.O. Box 520
Ridge, MD 20680
Emergency Dial 911
Non-Emergency: 301-872-5571
E-mail: info@ridgevfd.org
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