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Palo Verde Valley Blythe/Quartzsite Times | Blythe, California and Quartzsite, Arizona

home : latest news : regional July 22, 2014

6/14/2013 6:00:00 AM
Summer back yard safety
Special to the Times

BLYTHE - As summer approaches, the International Code Council is urging homeowners to take the time to check their outdoor areas for potential safety hazards. Proper maintenance now can help to keep your family and friends safe.

Porches, Decks and Balconies

Porches can be at risk of collapsing if they are not properly constructed or if they are old and not being maintained. A common safety hazard occurs when porches are nailed to buildings, rather than being attached with the proper anchors or bolts. Nails are a poor method for attaching porches to buildings because they work their way loose over time. Other safety hazards to look for are:

• Split or rotting wood

• Wobbly handrails or guardrails

• Loose, missing or rusting anchors, nails or screws

• Missing, damaged or loose support beams and planking

• Poor end-support of the porch deck, joists or girders

• Excessive movement of the porch when walked on

• Swaying or unstable porches

Building or repairing to code [which requires a building permit and inspections], will help ensure that the structure is safe. Once permitted and inspected, be careful not to allow the structure to become overcrowded. If the people on the structure have difficulty moving about, the structure could be exceeding its weight capacity and could collapse.


Grilling on or near combustible areas can be a fire hazard. It not only puts your family and visitors at risk but especially in condos and apartment buildings, can put your neighbors in danger as well. The most common grilling hazards are open flames and heat generated in the grill base that can be transferred to the wood of a porch or the home's siding, causing a fire. When grilling, follow these safety tips:

• Place the grill away from siding, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches

• Periodically remove grease or fat buildup

• Use only proper starter fluid and store the can away from heat sources

• Check propane cylinder hoses for leaks before use

• Do not move hot grills

• Dispose of charcoal properly, keeping ash containers outside and away from combustible construction

The 2010 California Fire Code prohibits the use of charcoal and gas grills and other open burning devices on combustible porches or within 10 feet of combustible construction. There are exceptions for certain homes and where buildings and porches are protected by an automatic sprinkler system.

Swimming Pools

Because they can be attractive, and dangerous, to young children, in-ground and above-ground pools should be surrounded by a fence or other barrier. Small, inflatable pools must also be protected. The California Building Code and the Blythe Municipal Code state that any pool with more than 18 inches of water has to have a six-foot fence or other barrier around it. Any gates in the fence must be self-closing and self-latching.

The city of Blythe Building Department located at 235 N. Broadway has handouts that include this and other information.

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