This past week, a family in our community was displaced their home sustained more than $75,000 in damages. The cause? An ember from a fire pit in their backyard found its way to their roof and took out their attic. What started as a fun evening with family and friends, ended in trauma. Thankfully, everyone in the home got out safe.
If you are planning to have an outdoor gathering where a fire pit will be used, please take the necessary precautions.
Fire Pit Safety
Fire pits have become very popular. The warmth and joy that radiates from the open fire can make parties, intimate gatherings and simple marshmallow roasts the most sought-after and enjoyable activities on a cool, crisp evening. However, fire pits are wrought with dangers, and to ensure the safety of you, your family, and your guests, you should address the following safety concerns.
A fire pit enclosure can be as simple as a store-bought iron basin or as elaborate as a handmade stone pit. Whatever your choice of enclosure material, the rules for safety remain similar:
- Place or build your fire pit in a flat, open area. Avoid areas with trees, especially trees with low-hanging branches. Do not place a moveable fire pit on a slope.
- In purchasing a fire pit, always buy the fire screen for extra protection. Also, if you are building a fire pit, purchase a screen that fits your enclosure.
- When possible, place your pit on concrete, dirt, or gravel. Avoid placing the pit on or around grass or leaves, and never light a pit if the grass it is on is too dry.
- In building a pit, build a non-flammable base, like a concrete, dirt, or gravel base. This will decrease the chance of catching materials outside the pit on fire and increase the ambience of your fire pit.
- If building a seating ring to surround the fire pit, ensure the seats are not flammable. Popular, aesthetically-pleasing seating includes concrete, stucco, and metal seats. Also, ensure your immovable seats are positioned properly for enjoyment without danger: 1.2 meters is the optimal distance for fire safety.
As with any fire situation, there are many safety measurements that can ensure you and yours remain safe. The following protocols should be followed in fire pit safety:
- Always have a fire extinguisher handy.
- Keep a first aid kit nearby for any accidental burns.
- Put out the fire completely before leaving the pit unattended or before finishing the evening. Even the smallest fire can become a large fire quickly, so embers should be completely extinguished.
- Do not light a fire in windy conditions. One stray spark can cause a large fire.
- If a fire warning is implemented in your area, do not burn. The dry conditions in the area could influence rampant forest or brush fires based on a single ember or spark.
- Never allow a child to start a fire or to play near the fire. Children should always be closely supervised around a fire pit.
- Always use dry wood and kindling to light your fire. Never use accelerants, garbage, or garden clippings to light a fire. Also, never throw any materials besides seasoned woods onto your fire.
Fire pits have become popular because they offer many evenings of free or low cost entertainment. But they can pose a danger if not properly used. The above fire pit safety techniques can help make your evenings as enjoyable and safe as possible.
If you do experience a fire, get yourself to safety! A fire is a devastating, traumatic event. You have enough to worry about. Let us worry about the mess! #CleanupWithCompassion. www.sagerestorationkc.com