While fire pits and fire glass are fun additions to your home, it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers that come along with any heat source or open flame. A bit of awareness goes a long way and will ensure that you enjoy your fire pit and fire glass for many years without any mishaps.
Here are seven things you can do to enjoy your fire pit safely.
1. Invest in a Safer Fire Pit
Some fire pits are safer than others. Wood burning fire pits require a keen eye on the embers and popping logs to ensure that there are no stray flames. Investing in a natural gas or electric burning pit, on the other hand, allows you to use fire pit glass, faux wood logs or gel instead of wood.
There is no risk of the traditional “popping” or “snapping” that’s associated with wood, or of flyaway sparks, therefore making them the safer option. Additionally, gas and electric pits are operated with an “on/off” switch, so you don’t need to wait around to make sure that the fire has been safely extinguished.
2. Fire Pit Placement
Outdoor fire pits should be placed at least 10 feet away from any major structure, such as your home or garage. Likewise, you should take every measure to place your fire pit at least 10 feet away from any bushes and trees; particularly trees with low hanging branches that may catch fire. Finding a safe space for your fire pit will let you rest easy knowing that you’ve done your best to keep your home and backyard space safe.
Outdoor fire pits should be placed at least 10 feet away from any major structure, such as your home or garage.
3. Establishing Rules
Especially for those planning to host gatherings around their fire pit glass, it’s important to understand the importance of enforcing a no-horseplay rule near your open flame. Running or playing around an open flame can lead to very serious injuries. Be mindful of drinking habits while hanging out around your fire pit, as alcohol may easily impair judgment and lead to injury.
4. Keep an Eye on Kids
You’ve taught your kids to be careful of open flames, but that doesn’t mean they’ll do so when you aren’t looking. Especially around friends, kids sometimes show off and push boundaries. Keep an eye on kids while around an open flame.
Remember that even though you’ve set out a list of rules, kids might attempt to break them when you aren’t around. Even if it’s a matter of simply saying “no kids around the pit without parent supervision”, you’ll be decreasing the likelihood of serious injuries.
5. Fuel Flames the Right Way
Understanding how (and how not) to fuel a flame is extremely important. Using propane, kerosene, and alcohol to fuel your fire pit glass will only increase the risk of out-of-control flames, explosions and serious burns.
Instead, use dry wood for wood burning pits, and keep your gas and electric burning pits to a healthy flame with the flick of a button. Flames fueled correctly will survive well into the night and should require little effort to maintain as the hours go by.
Flames fueled correctly will survive well into the night and should require little effort to maintain as the hours go by.
6. Inspecting Your Pit Before Use
Do you live some place where it rains? Do you constantly forget to cover your fire pit on a nightly basis? Before use, ensure that your pit is not a safety hazard by checking for weak spots in the metal tray. Keep an eye out for signs of rust in the bowl that might lead to loose embers, causing a breakout of flame when you’re not expecting it.
If you use a gas or electric burning fire pit, take a look at the wiring and propane tank before turning it on. Help your fire pit glass retain its longevity by covering it nightly, keeping the metal casing safe from moisture that can rust and weaken the pit.
7. Be Mindful of the Weather
Obviously a cool fall night is the ideal time to kick back with your feet up by the fire pit, but what if that night is windy?
Traditional wood-burning fire pits are dangerous to use on windy nights, when embers from your fire pit can blow longer distances. Avoid using a wood burning pit on windy nights to avoid fire damage to your home, your neighbors’ homes and any brush areas nearby that could catch fire. Saving your fire pit use for windless nights will also lower the chance of a stray ember burning you or your guests.
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When All Else Fails, Remember To PASS
As a backup, you should keep a working fire extinguisher near your fire pit. If a fire does start, you’ll be prepared to deal with it using the steps below. Each letter of the word "pass" stands for one step in the process of using a fire extinguisher.
Pull – pull the pin from the extinguisher
Aim – aim the nozzle at the base of the fire
Squeeze – squeeze the trigger
Sweep – sweep back and forth across the base of the fire until extinguished.
What advice do you have for keeping safe near your fire pit? How do you make sure that your fire pit nights run smoothly?
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