Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Fire Pit Safety Tips

By: Edward L. Blais, JD, CIC

As these final summer nights begin to cool down, accidents with backyard fire pits seem to be heating up. Although gathering with friends and family around a fire is a great way to spend an evening, if not handled correctly, it could pose serious threats to your safety. 

At Blais Insurance, we want you to be better informed about potential hazards before igniting a danger to yourself or others.  For all types of fire pits, we offer you these vital tips to ensure that your summer nights are spent with less worry and more fun:

Tip 1: Consult with building officials, local codes and certified professionals before installing a fire bowl no matter what it uses for fuel — wood, natural gas, propane or gel – as codes vary from city to city.

Tip 2: Make sure the area right around your bowl is clear of branches or foliage that could catch fire. A good rule of thumb would be to allow at least six to ten feet of cleared space from the bowl.  Make sure there is nothing flammable around the area, such as overhead tree branches.
Tip 3: Most fire bowls made for burning real wood come with a mesh cover. Once your fire is lit and has burned down a little, be sure to use the screen. This keeps sparks from floating out of the bowl and any flammable debris from blowing into the bowl.

Tip 4: Never leave a fire unattended - when the people go in, the fire goes out! Resist putting your fire out by dumping a bucket of water on it. This will just raise a cloud of steam, send ashes flying and make it harder to light the fire the next time. 

Tip 5: Even though you'd like to spend more time relaxing and less time building the fire, never use accelerants like charcoal lighter fluid or gasoline to light the fire.

Tip 6: Take wind into consideration when deciding placement and type of fire bowl. Burning embers can get blown out of the fire bowl, so choose a protected area if you are going with wood as your fuel.

Tip 7: Remember that the metal in fire bowls gets hot. Let it cool thoroughly before attempting to handle the cover or moving the bowl.

Tip 8: Make sure what you use for your pit is approved for its intended use. The wrong material could explode or shatter.

Tip 9: Keep a bucket of sand, dirt or cold ashes handy, along with a shovel or metal rake. Move partially burned logs away from each other so they begin to cool and use the sand or dirt to cool and smother the coals.

Tip 10: Keep a fire extinguisher close at-hand.  It should be a dry-chemical extinguisher with a Class B and C or multipurpose rating, such as the one you have in your kitchen. Pull the pin, aim at the base of the fire, and squeeze the trigger slowly.

Remember that at Blais Insurance your safety is our biggest concern. Be sure to call us today to learn more about how to protect your home from any potential dangers and discuss your current policy at 401.725.0070. 

Information from this article was provided by: Top 10 Tips for Using Fire Bowls and Fire Pit Safety.