Essential Tips for Fire Pit Safety

By Katie Conaway | Fire Safety
Aug. 302018

Fire pits are wonderful ambiance creators for any outdoor space. No matter the season, the versatile fire pit is a welcoming way to bring people together to sit back, relax and enjoy the night air. However, make no mistake, when dealing with an open fire, safety must be first, last and always.

Pick the Right Location

As discussed in a previous blog, fire pits can be portable or permanent. The possibilities are really endless, but it’s important to make sure safety is the foundation of where the fire pit is installed or moved to within the outdoor space.

Below are some important rules of thumb to consider before building or moving a fire pit:

  • Keep 10 feet away from any structure or combustible surface
  • Make sure there are not any overhanging foliage
  • Clear ground debris away (e.g. paper items, leaves, sticks or branches)
  • Only place on a natural surface (e.g. concrete, gravel, brick), avoid wood decks if portable

Always Watch Children

Injuries from backyard fire pits are on the rise. Why? It can happen in seconds, turn your back and a toddler can stumble and fall into the fire! This is why young children should never, ever be left unattended around a fire pit. There should ALWAYS be someone present and watching to ensure they do not get too close.

Most fire pits come with or can easily be covered by a protective screen. This is a great idea and should be taken advantage of when small children will be close to an outdoor fire pit. It does not mean you can keep your eyes off the little ones, the screens get extremely hot too!

A good rule of thumb, make sure the kiddos are at least 3 feet away from the fire pit. This goes for our furry “children” too. Pets and fire pits do not mix!

Never Leave Unattended

While enjoying the glowing embers and crackling snap of a wood burning fire pit, make sure to always be present. It is also a good idea to have the following items handy, just in case:

  • Water via bucket or hose (make sure the setting is on “spray” and not “stream” which can spreading burning embers)
  • Sand, to snuff out the fire at the end of the night or if water doesn’t seem to be getting the job done
  • Fire extinguisher using the PASS procedure (Pull the pin; Aim at the base of the fire; Squeeze the trigger slowly; Sweep the nozzle from side to side)
  • Mobile phone, in case the fire gets way out of hand and the fire department needs to be called (fire spreads fast, especially is there is heavy wind, so don’t delay!)

Once it’s time to call it a night, ALWAYS extinguish the fire. Most manufactured fire pits have specific instructions, so don’t throw away the instructions once the fire pit is functional. When in doubt, follow common sense to extinguish the fire as if it is a campfire.

Follow these helpful pieces of advice and have a wonderful, but SAFE time around the fire pit.

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