With its warm nights and relaxing atmosphere, summer is the best time for cooking outside. Unfortunately, it's also peak season for grill fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 17 percent of grill fires happen in July, trailed by 14 percent in May and June, and 13 percent in August. This doesn't include fire pits, either. The NFPA states that outdoor fireplaces and fire pits are responsible for 3,700 grass and brush fires each year.
Whether you're entertaining guests around a fire pit or grilling your family's dinner over an outdoor fireplace, it's integral that you fully understand where to set up your fire, how to use it and how to keep everyone safe. Read these helpful tips on outdoor grill and fire pit safety from the experts at ServiceMaster Restore®.
Build your fire pit away from buildings.
The number one rule of grilling safety is to keep your fire away from surrounding homes, buildings, trees and other items that could catch fire. If the flames accidentally get too high or otherwise escape your fire pit, you don't want to put yourself, your kids, your pets or your guests at risk. Avoid any accidents by setting up your fire pit in a wide, open space that's away from flammable materials.
Never use gasoline or lighter fluid.
Gasoline and lighter fluid may yield immediate results, but they're dangerous additions to your fire pit. One spill outside the pit and you could soon have an uncontrollable fire roaring across the property. Furthermore, adding accelerants onto an already burning fire can cause explosions. To keep yourself safe, use dry wood as kindling for a steady, controlled burn.
Keep your distance from the flames.
Everyone needs to stay a safe distance away from the fire pit at all times. Pay extra attention to the whereabouts of children, pets and guests who have been drinking. To help prevent any accidents, we recommend keeping your fire pit at least 10 feet from flammable objects. Leave enough room for guests to walk around the flames or sit comfortably and safely away from the immediate vicinity.
Put up a fire screen or cover.
To enhance your outdoor fire safety, consider setting up a screen or cover around your grill. Without one, stray sparks can exit your fire pit, potentially injuring guests or causing fires. These protective barriers are often affordable and available for purchase at your local home hardware store.
Have a bucket of water or a hose nearby.
When using an open flame, it's important to have an emergency plan in place, just in case the unexpected happens. Keep a bucket of water, a garden hose or a fire extinguisher close by, so you can respond immediately to any potential hazards. Should the fire become uncontrollable, evacuate the property and call emergency services right away.
Overall, outdoor dinners and nights spent around the fire are an irreplaceable part of summer. By following ServiceMaster Restore's fire pit safety tips, you can help keep your summer full of happy, care-free memories. For more information on outdoor grilling safety, read our essential BBQ safety tips.