Sweet summertime is finally here. Pool days, camping trips and backyard BBQs- there’s nothing quite like it! Before you go and get that grill going or put together that fire for smores, take a few safety precautions to ensure a fun-filled summer with no fire-related accidents.
1) Know What Type of Grill You Have
It’s important to know what type of grill you have; do you have a gas or charcoal? Charcoal grills require charcoal and fire whereas gas require propane. Obvious? Sure, but it’s important to know that they must be treated differently. You should never put starter fluid on a gas grill because that’s only for charcoal grills.
2) Maintenance is Key
It’s important that you maintain your grill not only for longevity, but for safety. Make sure you’re actively emptying any trays or ash catchers and inspecting the propane tank and fuel line for any leaks. Don’t forget to clean the inside, outside and grates.
3) Location, Location, Location
Make sure your grill is at least 10 feet from your house and any flammable materials. Never fire your grill up in an enclosed and unventilated area!
4) If the Flame Goes Out, Wait to Relight
If you’re using a gas grill and the flame goes out, turn the gas off and wait at least 5-10 minutes to re-light. DO NOT start a gas grill with the lid closed! The buildup of gas could create a fireball.
5) Have an Extinguisher Handy
Fires are fast, so you must be prepared! Have a fire extinguisher close for any fires and baking soda to control a grease fire. Never, ever use water to put out a grease fire.
Fire Pit Safety
1) Select the Right Site
Before you start your fire pit, make sure you’ve scoped out the perfect location. Ensure that the ground is level and that it’s about 10-20 feet away from surrounding plans, buildings or other structures. Never operate a fire pit in an enclosed space or under overhanging trees. Surround your fire pit with materials like crushed stone, brick or sand.
2) Find the Right Fuel
In wood-stoked fire pits, only burn wood that’s been seasoned for six months. Also avoid soft woods like pine and birch that produce more crackle and pops than hardwoods like oak or hickory. For a wood-burning fire pit cut the logs so their length is less than 3-quarters the diameter of the pit. Never use lighter fluid or gasoline to start a fire!
3) Keep a Safe Distance
Position any chairs or blankets far enough away from the fire that people can move about without risk of falling into or catching anything on fire. Make sure to keep a special eye on pets and children to ensure their safety.
4) Put Out the Fire Safely
When you’re done with the fire, ensure that you put out the fire properly according to the instructions. Most pits come with specific instructions on how to correctly extinguish a fire.
Camp Fire Safety
1) Pick a Safe Location
Don’t build a fire if the campground or area prohibits them. Sometimes digging a pit may be prohibited too. In addition, don’t build a fire during dry and hazardous conditions. Pick a location that’s about 15 feet from tent walls, shrubs, trees, overhanging branches and other flammable objects. Choose an open, level location away from heavy fuels such as logs, brush and decaying leaves. Take wind direction into account to make sure your fire is protected from gusts.
2) Prepare Your Pit
If there isn’t an existing fire pit on the camp grounds and you need to build a pit, clear a 10-foot-diamater area around the site. Remove any grass, twigs, leaves and firewood. Dig a pit in the dirt about a foot deep. Circle the pit with rocks and you’re done!
3) Build Your Fire
First and foremost, have a source of water, a bucket and a shovel near by at all times. Never cut whole trees or branches. Live materials won’t burn and you’ll just end up damaging the forest. Gather three types of wood from the ground:
- Tinder: small wigs and dry leaves, grass and needles.
- Kindling: sticks smaller than 1” around.
- Fuel: larger pieces of wood. Keep those stacked upwind away from the fire.
Pile some tinder in the center of the firepit and ignite with a match or lighter and throw the match into the fire once it’s cooled. Add more tinder as the fire grows and add kindling and fuel to keep the fire going. Keep the fire small and under control. Once the fire is going strong, add larger pieces of dry wood to keep it burning steadily.
4) Be Responsible and Extinguish Fire Properly
When you’re ready to call it a night, pour lots of water on the fire and drown all embers with water- not just the red ones. Keep dousing it until all the hissing sounds stop. If you don’t have access to water, stir dirt or sand into the embers with a shovel to bury the fire. Using your shovel, scrape any sticks and longs to ensure no additional smoldering embers. Continue to add water, sand or dirt until all materials are cool.
The summer can be a wonderful time to create lasting memories around the fire or memorable meals by the grill. Just remember to be extra cautious when dealing with fire so those dreamy days of summer don’t go up in flames. If anything does happen, your TGS Insurance agent is here to help and stay prepared with the right homeowners insurance.
Source: Smokey The Bear Fire Prevention
Source: HGTV Fire Pit Safety