Patio and Deck Fire Pit Safety Rules
With their glowing warmth and beautiful, dancing flames, it’s easy to get caught up in the ambiance of a fire pit’s glow, However, you must keep fire dangers in mind and use your fire pit cautiously and responsibly. While a patio or deck can be a safe place to use a fire pit, certain restrictions apply, according to the Live Safe Foundation and Universal Forest Products.
Outdoor fire pit safety tips
Patio fire pit safety
Fire pit owners should place their fire pit at least 15 feet from any structure or any surface that is flammable. This means that you should not place your fire pit under a covered porch or under low-hanging tree branches. Cement or tiled patios are acceptable surfaces for fire pits, as long as they are level and in good repair. Live Safe also recommends that you keep the fire pit area clear of any flammable debris, such as dried leaves, twigs or grass clippings.
Deck fire pit safety
Because wood is so flammable, placing a fire pit on a wood surface is risky. In fact, some cities have codes or laws in place that make it a crime. Universal Forest Products recommends that consumers not place fire pits directly on top of wooden decks, but instead place them on a fire pit pad, stone slabs or bricks over the wood. A fire pit can then be used safely on top of these surfaces, as long as the fire-resistant materials extend at least 24 inches beyond the perimeter of the fire pit. Follow all other fire pit safety guidelines, such as the 15-foot rule and keeping the area free of flammable debris.
Kids, alcohol, and other distracting things
Children and pets can be a quite distracting when it comes to fire safety. Either they distract you from keeping a vigilant watch on the fire, or they behave dangerously near the fire. Keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from the fire pit at all times, and do not leave them unattended at any time a fire is burning.
Alcohol is another dangerous distraction. Drink alcohol responsibly or not at all when using a fire pit.
Guests can be a distraction as well. Always ask an adult to watch the fire if you are hosting guests and are called into the house. If the party moves inside, completely extinguish the fire by spreading out the coals and dousing them with water.
Other safety rules
Many other safety practices need to be observed when using a fire pit on a patio. For example, when starting your fire, do not use gasoline, lighter fluid or any other flammable liquid. Instead, light a crumpled piece of newspaper or a commercial fire-starter stick that has kindling placed on top of it.
Wind is another safety hazard. Do not burn a fire in your fire pit on a windy day, as the hot embers can blow away and land on a combustible surface.
Even if you are vigilant about fire pit safety, accidents do happen. Keep a container of water and a hose at the ready when using your fire pit. It is also a good idea to have a phone handy in case you need to call 911.
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