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Fire Pit

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The Suffolk County Volunteer Firefighters Burn Center at Stony Brook University Hospital — the only designated burn care facility in Suffolk County, has 10 safety tips this July 4th.

Many will spend the holiday in their backyards for barbecues, cookouts or build fire pits where there’s a greater risk to sustain a burn injury. To avoid injury, Steven Sandoval, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery and Medical Director of the Suffolk County Volunteer Firefighters Burn Center at Stony Brook University Hospital, says “The best way to do this is to prevent the burn in the first place with safety tips and precautions to eliminate potential dangers.”

  1. Fireworks are safe for viewing only when being used by professionals.
  2. Sparklers are one of the most common ways children become burned this holiday, even with a parent’s supervision.
  3. Do not have children around any fireworks, firepits, barbecues or hot coals. Teach them not to grab objects or play with items that can be hot. Go through a lesson where they learn to ask permission.
  4. Limit the use of flammable liquids to start your fire pits and barbecues. Use only approved lighter fluids that are meant for cooking purposes. No gasoline or kerosene.
  5. Don’t leave hot coals from fire pits and barbecues laying on the ground for people to step in.
  6. When cleaning grills, the use of wire bristle brushes can result in ingestion of sharp bristle pieces requiring surgery.
  7. If you are overly tired, and consumed alcohol, do not use the stovetop, fire pit or a fireplace.
  8. Stay protected from the sun. Use hats and sunblock, and realize that sunblock needs to be reapplied after swimming or after sweating.
  9. Use the back burners of the stove to prevent children from reaching up and touching hot pots and pans.
  10. Always use oven mitts or potholders to remove hot items from the stove or microwave. Assume pots, pans and dishware are hot.

“If burned do not go anywhere but a facility that specializes in burn treatment,” says Dr. Sandoval.

As the only designated burn care facility for more than 1.5 million residents of Suffolk County, the Burn Center at Stony Brook University Hospital coordinates burn services throughout the county, and conducts training and research in burn care. The Burn Center also serves as a resource to neighboring community-based hospitals. Patients of all ages – from infants through geriatrics – are treated at the Burn Center.

To reach the Suffolk County Volunteer Firefighters Burn Center at Stony Brook University Hospital, call 631-444-4545.

For immediate help, call the burn unit directly at 631-444-BURN.

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Photo by Katherine Link of R.J.K. Gardens, Inc.

Picture this: the sun is setting. You’re sitting by a small waterfall that empties into a pristine pond. The campfire is roaring in the background. Someone is barbecuing up a storm.

It feels like you’ve escaped. But you’ve merely stepped outside your home.

Furnishing outdoor spaces is an increasingly popular home improvement trend on Long Island, according to Richard Kuri, president of St. James-based R.J.K Gardens Inc. Lately, homeowners are installing things like fire pits, synthetic golf greens, horseshoe pits, bocce courts and more, to create spaces to live and play in.

It’s not a new movement, but one that has gained momentum over the last five years or so. The most popular items tend to be fire pits and outdoor kitchens, said Kuri in a recent interview. Other intriguing elements include outside heaters, water-resistant couches, flat-screen TVs, waterfalls and ponds stocked with fish. The idea of creating “serenity spaces” is also big — Kuri said his company recently converted a wooded area rife with bramble that was an eyesore at a condo complex in Hauppauge into a meandering path with benches and a gazebo. “For the people who live at these condos, it’ll be a destination, a place for people to relax,” he said.

Stock photo
Stock photo

Some of these popular outdoor space furnishings can be found in do-it-yourself form at your local home improvement store. One of the simpler items, the fire pit, comes in a kit nowadays, Kuri said — easy enough for the average handy person to assemble. Do-it-yourself fire pit kits could run up to about $900, he said.

Marc Weinstein, the maintenance manager of Owens Brothers Landscape Development in Baiting Hollow, is seeing an increase in demand from clients for outdoor LED lighting, including lights that can illuminate a pathway, or shine up or down from trees. He said he thinks the reason for the increase in demand is because people want to enjoy their outdoor spaces for longer periods of time once the sun sets.

It’s also not a budget-breaking improvement. Outdoor lighting is something one could also find at a local home improvement store, Weinstein said. “I would say that places like the Home Depot and Lowe’s, I think they’re making it more, the word sexy, to have these kinds of things, and more affordable, to have these kinds of things,” Weinstein said in a recent interview.

Kuri feels the rise of outdoor living spaces stems from when the economy crashed around 2008 and 2009. That’s when outdoor-living home improvements really ramped up because people who would have normally dropped big money on vacations decided instead to pour it in to their homes and create a “staycation” getaway.

“I think that the phrase ‘getting back to nature,’ the fact that if you have nice weather or if you can enjoy nature and get outside [to] enjoy it, why not do it?” Kuri said. “It’s another destination — in your own yard.”