Staying safe during outdoor Memorial Day Weekend activities

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) — Memorial Day weekend is known for outdoor celebrations and cookouts as we recognize those who made the ultimate sacrifice years ago.

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer when people open their grills and light the firepit, but if the proper precautions are not taken for those activities, they can very easily cause fires and personal injuries.

Local fire officials are urging people to take precautions before engaging in events where fire is present. According to the Department of Fire Services, in the months of May to September, more than 75 percent of grilling fires occur.

“Grill fires, they’re usually related to the propane tank not being properly connected to the propane hose that supplies the burners, or a lack of maintenance on the grill, which would be cleaning. And, build-up of grease and dirt debris,” expressed Springfield Fire Department Spokesperson, Drew Piemonte.

Captain Piemonte suggests cleaning out grease traps and grate tops, along with keeping a 10-foot distance from any structure. Also, keep kids and pets at least three feet away. If you’re setting up a small campfire check with your local fire department, and have a hose, bucket of water, shovel, or dirt nearby so you can put it out quickly.

While you enjoy outdoor Memorial Day activities experts also say to avoid overexposure to the sun. The vast majority of skin cancers that develop are due to ultraviolet damage from the sun.

John McCann, an Oncologist at Baystate Medical Center told 22News this occurs early in life for children, adolescents, and people in their 20s, “Particularly Melanoma. Melanoma is a skin cancer that has much more of a tendency to spread and require more aggressive intervention and treatment if we don’t identify it at an early stage.”

McCann suggests covering up with sun-protective clothing if you are in direct sunlight by the pool or beach. It’s also good to have wide-brimmed hats and sunscreen that is SPF30 or higher.

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