State Fire Marshal’s Office shares consumer safety tips ahead of Labor Day holiday

Department provides tips for a safer holiday whether traveling or at home

NASHVILLE – The upcoming Labor Day (Sept. 6) holiday weekend marks the unofficial end of summer, making it the perfect opportunity to enjoy a getaway and enjoy the great outdoors in the Volunteer State before the seasons change. 

Ahead of the three-day weekend, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) and the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) reminds consumers of simple steps they should remember to make the holiday safe, either on land or the water. 

“When spending time with family and friends over the Labor Day holiday, it’s important to remember some simple fire safety tips in order to help ensure that everyone enjoys their time together without fear of an emergency,” said TDCI Assistant Commissioner Gary Farley. 

Carbon Monoxide Safety

When enjoying the great outdoors in Tennessee, RV owners should be wary of the dangers that can arise from carbon monoxide in and around tents and RVs. Often called “the silent killer,” carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless gas created when fuels (such as kerosene, gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil and methane) burn incompletely. Carbon monoxide can result from a number of camping equipment items, such as barbecue grills, portable generators or other fuel-powered devices. 

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may include headache, nausea and drowsiness. Extremely high levels of poisoning can be fatal, causing death within minutes. Anyone who suspects they are suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning should immediately move to a fresh air location and call 9-1-1 or the local fire department. 

  • Never use a fuel-powered lantern, heater or portable camping stove inside a home, tent or camper/RV. 
  • Use portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from all doors, windows, vents and other building openings to prevent exhaust fumes from entering the home. 

Barbecue and Camping Fire Safety 

If your Labor Day plans include a barbeque or camping out, remember: 

  • Place the grill away from combustibles. If using a propane grill, check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line before pushing the ignition switch. 
  • Only use barbecue grills outside, away from all doors, windows, vents and other shelter openings. Lit or smoldering barbecue grills should never be taken inside a home, tent or RV. 
  • Ensure that lit citronella candles and torches are placed out of the reach of children and well away from flammable materials. Build campfires at least 15 feet away from tent walls, shrubs or other materials that burn. 
  • Never leave your camping area without putting out your campfire. 
  • Never add lighter fluid to an already lit fire. The flame can flash back up into the container and explode. 

Marina Safety 

If you’re spending time on any of Tennessee’s beautiful lakes, rivers or waterways, learn to avoid the potential hazards that could lead to electric shock drowning when spending time at a public marina or dock. Electric shock drowning occurs when a swimmer unknowingly enters water that has been electrified by a nearby power source such as a boat or a marina. While swimming in the electrified water, the swimmer is paralyzed by the electric current before drowning. 

  • Never swim within 100 yards of any freshwater marina or boatyard. 
  • Never use common household extension cords for providing shore power to your boat. Use, and encourage other boaters to use, shore power cords built to UL standards. 
  • If you are in the water and feel tingling, swim away from the dock, try to stay upright and immediately head for shore at least 100 yards from the dock. 
  • All Tennessee public marinas and docks have been inspected through the State Fire Marshal’s Office Marina Inspection Program. Learn more about the program and additional safety tips here.

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