Summer Safety Reminders

A summer view of a house with mountains behind it.

Summer is here and to get the most out of the next few (two) months, you’ll want to keep the following safety reminders in mind as you enjoy all that Alaska has to offer.

Outdoor Firepits, Grills, and Burn Bans

Garages are not for fires. No fire pits, no grills, no anything with an open flame. The obvious risk comes from you losing control of the fire and having it spread in the garage and throughout the house. However, there are plenty of other reasons why open flames should remain outside. Combustion of any sort (including that from your car’s engine), can release Carbon Monoxide (CO), and CO can quickly become deadly in enclosed spaces if inhaled over a period of time. Garages, even when opened are still very much enclosed and can still build up deadly amounts of CO over a short period of time. Aside from the risk of CO poisoning, smoke inhalation from a fire can also cause serious health issues.

Grill Responsibly. Grills add flavor and that token ‘taste of summer’ to pretty much everything which is why they are very much allowed on JBER, but be sure they are positioned well away from fencing and siding, on a flat surface, and under the supervision of the grill master at all times.

Be aware of burn bans. You can check the status on JBER here and the municipality of Anchorage here. These orders are weather contingent and help us collectively reduce the risk of wildfire. Some bans allow for outdoor firepits, grilling, etc. others do not.

Sun, Heat, and Windows

It’s hot out there, make sure you’re layering on the SPF and rocking your super cool polarized sunglasses. There’s a whole lot of daylight right now, almost 20 hours worth, so make sure you’re applying the sunscreen regularly when you’re out enjoying it. Ultraviolet Radiation (UV) from the sun can cause serious damage to skin and eyes and can lead to skin cancer.

There is no AC on JBER (and it’s very uncommon anywhere in the state). While hot days are rare, we’ve had quite a few over the past week.

  • You don’t have to turn off your furnace or boiler at the thermostat. Just set the temperature to a lower setting i.e. 64 degrees. When you do this, you’re telling your heating system to not turn on until the temperature in your home drops to the specified temperature. Please remember: if there is a setting for ‘cool’, do not use it, it will not give you cool air; it will recirculate warm air and run the blower motor constantly.
  • Contact maintenance if heat does not turn off. This is considered an emergency and should be phoned in to our 24/7 maintenance line.
  • Stay on lower levels when possible. Heat rises, and the lower levels are almost always cooler than upper levels.
  • Make sure blinds are closed in bedrooms, closing the blinds at ‘night’ can help reduce the amount of UV rays that seep into your bedroom, reducing the temperature.
  • Use portable fans. Almost every Alaskan has their trusty nighttime fan for the hot days. While they don’t necessarily drop the temperature of a room, they can make the area they are blowing on feel so much nicer.

Opening windows can help keep temperatures down, but do so safely, especially with kids and pets in the house. Windows, especially those on the second story, can pose a serious fall hazard to unattended children and pets. To minimize this risk:

  • Do not lean on screens; screens keep bugs out and are not designed to hold the weight of a child or animal.
  • Remove furniture from under windows (that can be climbed on)
  • Closing and locking windows if leaving kids unattended (even if only for a minute), as well as monitoring children around open windows can negate the fall risk.

Slips, Trips and Falls

We couldn’t possibly talk safety without mentioning slips, trips and falls. There are too many slip, trip and fall hazards around the home in the summer to name all of them, but notably sprinklers, hoses, lawn care equipment, loose basketballs and other sports things, dog poop (please pick it up), and other unexpected items.

  • Report damaged infrastructure to our maintenance team.
  • Remain situationally aware when working around your home, roaming the neighborhoods, or enjoying one of many trails located in JBER and the Anchorage area.
  • Wear proper footwear. Always fit the footwear with the task; shoes with good treading and closed toed shoes are always preferable over sandals or 10-year-old sneakers.

Playground and Recreation Safety

There are dozens of playgrounds and recreational areas located around JBER just waiting to be safely enjoyed.

Report damage to maintenance. Whether it’s a broken slide, or a missing railing, any and all safety hazards or damage should be reported to our team. Playgrounds are regularly inspected, but reports allow us to immediately address damage that occurs between inspections.

Monitor children. Please monitor children while they are at play and report any concerns regarding unattended children to Security Forces.

Wildlife Safety

Don’t Feed Wildlife. Feeding wildlife is illegal in Alaska (5 AAC 92.230) and can endanger you, the community, and the animal. Feeding doesn’t have to be intentional; negligent behaviors such as leaving trash or food outside can also lead to a citation.

Bird Feeders should be kept inside in the summer. Bird feeders are permitted in the winter months (October 30 to April 1) whilst bears are in hibernation, but they often attract bears.

Keep roll carts inside except when on the curb for trash/recycling pickup. When placed outside, make sure items inside the bins are securely bagged and that the lid closes.

If aggressive or threatening wildlife is sighted in a neighborhood, it should be reported directly to JBER Security Forces at 907.552.3421. Security Forces will dispatch Conservation Law Enforcement personnel. They use a variety of techniques to track, deter, and maintain wildlife populations on the installation; reports from residents greatly assist their efforts in promoting a safe environment for all.