What’s nicer than spending a summer evening relaxing around a campfire? The earthy smell of burning wood, the soothing evening breeze, the comforting warmth of the open flames, and carefully crafting delicious s’mores all culminate in some of the best late-night summer memories.
Fire pits are a great addition to the summer season and are one of the most affordable home improvement projects. But they can be a significant fire hazard if not properly maintained. If you already own or plan to build one, follow these fire pit safety tips to better protect yourself, your friends, and your family.
Choosing the Right Location
First and foremost, you should check your local fire safety laws to see if a fire pit is permitted in your backyard. Some more condensed areas, like cities, may prohibit a fire pit, even if you have outside space. If unsure, you can also call your local fire department.
A general rule of thumb is to place your fire pit at least 10 ft away from any flammable objects. These include your home, any trees/low-hanging branches, fences, etc. You should view the 10 ft rule as a minimum; the more space between your fire pit and surrounding debris, the better.
You should always build a fire pit on a flat surface to prevent material from falling out of the pit while burning. Likewise, you want to make sure the area around your fire pit is completely clear of any debris, such as leaves, sticks, branches, etc.
Building a Fire Pit on a Deck or Patio
A fire pit on a deck or patio area provides more risks to homeowners due to the nature of both spaces. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have one in those areas. You just need to take extra precautions.
Since most decks are made of wood, you want your fire pit to be on an elevated, flat surface, at least 10 ft away from your home, and there shouldn’t be any awning or cover above the deck. You should also have a fire extinguisher on standby and keep all outside furniture away from the fire pit when not outside.
As for a patio fire pit, it generally depends on the material of your patio. If your patio area is made of stone, you can build a ground fire pit. However, if it is comprised of flammable material, you want your fire pit on an elevated surface. Likewise, there shouldn’t be anything directly above your fire pit. And again, always have a fire extinguisher on standby.
Fire Pit Safety with Children
An open flame from a fire pit can be particularly dangerous for children and animals. Over a quarter of injuries from fire pits occur in children. However, that doesn’t mean children can’t enjoy summer evenings around the fire. For starters, you can teach them basic fire safety, such as:
- Never place bodily objects in the fire.
- Never add flammable liquids to the flames.
- Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothes around the fire.
- Make sure the fire is completely extinguished before going inside.
Additionally, you can show them how to handle and use a fire extinguisher in case there is an emergency and an adult is not around. They should also understand Stop, Drop, and Roll, as it can save them if there were to ever catch on fire. And for families with small children, you may want to invest in a fire pit safety fence to keep them from wandering into the flames.
Have a Fire Safety System in Place
Want to keep a watchful eye while your children and their friends spend a night out by the fire? Have a video surveillance camera overlooking your backyard. Likewise, you want to consider installing smoke detectors if you have a deck or patio area. Just make sure they are not too close to the fire pit, or else they will constantly be triggered.
At Vector Security, we help families make their homes a safer place. If you would like to learn more about the type of security solutions we provide, feel free to contact us today.