Picture this: a warm fire with roasted marshmallows. The weather is 75, and all of your close family and friends are with you. Yes, owning a fire pit is enjoyable, but a huge responsibility.
Laying down rules and being aware of the safety hazards around them is useful for prevention of any fires or damage to your property.
Seven steps to fire pit safety
- Check weather – Avoid using your fire pit on windy days, since flames or embers can spread to your home, yard and nearby trees. By checking the weather forecast ahead of time you can predict if the conditions will be right for a fire or not.
- Assess area – Before lighting the fire, check the area around you to make sure there are no debris or objects that could potentially catch on fire. This means there are no combustible materials or even loose leaves and debris around the pit to ensure fire doesn't spread.
- Check distance – The fire should also be set 10 to 20 feet away from objects, buildings and guests.
- Have a bucket of water nearby – Keep five gallons of water near you at all times in case of a fire that needs to be put out immediately.
- Use the right wood – Use wood that has been properly seasoned, meaning, not wood that has been just cut from trees. Store-bought wood from your local hardware store is a safer bet because it is made specifically for fire pit usage. The length of the logs should be less than ¾ the diameter of the pit.
- Screen – By purchasing a screen that can be placed around the fire, you can shield any flames from spreading, and create a barrier so people know what a safe distance should be from the pit.
- Dousing – Pour water from your bucket up and down the length of the fire, then side to side. Hold the water several feet over the fire to avoid getting burned by the steam and thoroughly cover all the wood and embers until the fire stops smoking.
The growing popularity of fire pits
The idea of having a fire in your own backyard is a popular and growing trend that has attracted many homeowners. According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, “blending outdoor and indoor living continues to be one of the country’s most predominant home trends.” Surveys also reveal that 67% of homeowners said they like having an outdoor fire to keep parties going when nights get cold.
However, they can also be very hazardous. Outdoor patio heater or fire pit injuries have nearly tripled from 2008 to 2017. The Hanover offers a broad selection of insurance solutions to protect your family, assets and home. Contact your independent insurance agent to learn more.
Mother Earth News
This Old House
National Fire Protection Association
July 2018 LC 2018-313