There is nothing quite like the smell of burning wood, the crackling sounds, and the radiant ambiance of an outside fire pit. Warm memories of childhood days roasting marshmallows and S’mores is part of what makes the summertime one of my favorite times of the year! Sitting around an open fire provides an inviting and invigorating spot to socialize with family and friends on a summer’s night. Taking some precautions when considering an outside fire will help to ensure a safe experience.
It is very important to take a look around the area where the fire pit is to see if there is any brush, dry vegetation or flammable objects (don’t forget your house) within 10-20 feet. Look around and then look up. Make sure there are no low-hanging branches or trees. All it takes is one little spark to ignite dry leaves or dry wood. Using a spark screen will help to keep the sparks contained. Having a garden hose or fire extinguisher handy is good practice. When moving or arranging logs in the fire, protect yourself by using a long poker. Never try to move anything in or around the fire with your bare hands.
Sitting too close to a fire can cause burns and heat exhaustion. Best practice is to keep a minimum of three (3) feet away from the fire. Drinking plenty of water will keep you hydrated while you enjoy the fire. Don’t focus too long on the fire itself. Staring at a fire can be hazardous to your eyes; avert your gaze and/or wear protective sunglasses.
Lighting fires with chemicals (gas, lighter fluid or alcohol) can cause explosions resulting in dangerously flammable fumes.
If your fire pit or fireplace uses liquid propane (LP) or natural gas (NG) you will find it may be more convenient and easy to light; however, being cautious and diligent is still the way to enjoying a safe fire. Be sure to check all valves, attachments, and hoses for leaks or holes before igniting. If there is a pilot light, make sure it hasn’t blown out allowing combustible gases to escape and fill the area. Knowing where the shut off is for the gas source is paramount in protecting yourself and your surroundings.
Charcoals: Do not burry hot charcoals in sand. Although sand might extinguish the flames, the coals can smolder for up to 24 hours. Remember too that the sand locks in the heat. If you bury charcoals in the sand realize that you’ve now created a hidden hazard. If you had a fire on a beach and covered the hot coals in sand a child could very well come along and not know that hot coals are under the sand and get severely burned. The best way to extinguish coals is to drench them in water, wait five minutes, and drench them again in water. DO NOT BURY HOT COALS.
Be aware of your environment, particularly with children around. Use the same precautions as you would with a swimming pool.
Watch for embers emanating from fire pits. Always assume there are hot coals at the bottom of a fire pit.
Reminder: If you or anyone else suffers a burn, do not put ice on the skin! This can cause skin damage, particularly in children whose skin is much thinner than adults. Rinse the burn with cool water for up to 10 minutes, and then cover with a cool washcloth or towel. Call 911 for all emergencies. If safe to do so, take the burn victim to the nearest emergency room.
Were you aware that United Alliance Services offers fire safety courses? Check out our Fire Safety and Prevention Management course or the Fire Protection and Prevention Awareness in Construction course and the NFPA 70E Electrical Safety in the Workplace course. We are here to provide YOU with professional solutions for your safety! Call us anytime: 877-399-1698 or visit us online at: www.unitedallianceservices.com.
Have a safe holiday!