Outdoor fire pits make an enjoyable addition to any backyard or garden, but like other forms of household fires, they also present a certain level of danger. Although they can generally be a fun time for friends and family, accidents from a home fire pit can lead to consequences like burn injuries or property damage.
With over 5,300 injuries per year resulting from fire pits and outdoor heaters, it’s important to practice proper fire safety in order to protect your loved ones and your home when using an outdoor fire pit.
Additionally, you should never forget to extinguish your fire pit when you’re done using it. Properly putting out a fire pit is an important step to make sure you and your loved ones aren’t suddenly surrounded by flames in your home or yard.
Your # 1 priority is keeping your family safe. As a firefighter, I recommend everyone has updated smoke detectors that don’t require battery changes, like these ones from Kidde, a fire extinguisher, like this one from Amerex, and a fire escape ladder if you have bedrooms above the first floor, I recommend this one from Hausse.
Follow the fire pit safety tips below to make sure your fire pit experiences stay cherished memories and don’t become a terrible nightmare.
1. Keep Your Fire Pit 10+ Feet Away From Your Home
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fire pits only be used outside and should be kept at least 10 feet away from other structures so they aren’t vulnerable to overheating or catching ablaze.
If you have the space in your yard, keeping your fire pit 10 to 30 feet away from your home or other structures will help to prevent unwanted residential fires.
2. Check on Wind Conditions Before Lighting Up
As a fire pit owner, it’s important that you exercise caution before lighting a fire outside, as sparks can easily get carried by the wind and spread to other areas.
Always check the weather before you start a fire and avoid starting a fire in windy conditions.
You don’t want what was supposed to be a recreational activity starting a house fire or even worse, a wildfire. Both of these types of fires spread very quickly and can do a lot of damage to your home and community.
Be a responsible citizen and never use your fire pit in poor weather conditions.
3. Use Proper Equipment When Handling Fire
To avoid any burn injuries, you’ll want to use proper equipment whenever handling the fire in your pit.
Instead of moving a log with your bare hands, you should use a tool like a log grabber or a poker. Additionally, you should put a spark screen over your fire pit to keep sparks in the pit and also prevent anyone from putting their hands where they don’t belong.
4. Be Ready For Emergencies
Whenever dealing with a fire, there’s always a possibility of accidents happening.
Be prepared for accidents by having the right emergency equipment on hand. A first aid kit is helpful for treating minor burns and should be stocked with gauze bandages and pain relievers.
If someone is experiencing a major burn, make sure they get appropriate medical attention instead of trying to treat at home.
You’ll also want to make sure you have a fire extinguisher around in case your fire leaves your pit. Follow the instructions on the canister or try the PASS method outlined below.
- Pull the pin
- Aim the hose at the base of the fire
- Squeeze the handle to let the extinguishing agent flow
- Sweep from side to side along the base of the fire until it’s put out
5. Know When to Evacuate
If a fire ever gets so out of control that you can’t extinguish it yourself, you should evacuate the premises. Make sure to alert others and also evacuate any pets that are with you.
Head to a safe location outdoors and from there, alert the fire department of the emergency.
Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a residential fire to retrieve items or people on your own. It’s important that you let firefighters do their work and remain away from the fire until they’ve notified you that it’s okay to return.
Now that you’re aware of these basic fire safety tips, you can focus on safely enjoying your fire pit with family and friends.
Check out the following graphic, for some additional quick tips to practice at home.