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Five Safety Tips to Keep in Mind for Your Fourth of July Barbecue

With the midweek Fourth of July holiday on the horizon, many families may be staying close to home and barbecuing in the backyard to celebrate the holiday.

We’ve grilled up five safety tips to serve alongside a fun-filled Independence Day. Don’t forget to top it off with a safe, professional fireworks show like the Seafair 4th of July or one of several others across Puget Sound. Remember, consumer and personal fireworks are banned in Seattle and Unincorporated King County, as well as most of the franchise cities that make up City Light’s service area.

1. Inspect your outdoor outlets to make sure they’re safe.

An outlet on the exterior of a home.

For some, the Fourth of July barbecue may be their first outdoor celebration of the summer season. Make sure to inspect outdoor outlets for wear and tear from winter weather, as well as lawn debris, cobwebs, and other detritus that may get into an outlet box when exposed to the elements. Repair or replace any damaged outlets to prevent electrical hazards.

2. Avoid overloading outlets with too many appliances and devices.

When setting up festive lighting and decorations, avoid overloading power outlets. Use appropriate extension cords and power strips equipped with circuit protection. Overloaded outlets can cause the circuit to trip, or worse, cause an electrical fire.

3. Make sure to grill safely.

Keep grills at least 10 feet away from any power lines and electrical equipment. Always supervise the grill and ensure that it is turned off when not in use. Remember to only use grills – whether electric, gas, or charcoal – in open, well-ventilated areas outside.

4. Respect fire, and firework, bans in your area.

A woman standing near an elevated outdoor firepit.

Follow local regulations regarding fire pits and bonfires. Only use designated areas if open flames are permitted. If building a recreational fire, be sure to build it away from electrical equipment or power lines, as smoke can conduct electricity. It’s also helpful to let your neighbors know if you’re having an outdoor fire, as the smell of smoke can be alarming.

5. Dispose of mylar balloons properly.

Mylar balloons are on many Fourth of July party lists. But be sure to tie them down during the event and dispose of them properly after the party by cutting them and throwing them away. If a mylar balloon touches a power line, it can cause an outage.

Have a safe, fun Fourth of July!