Summertime fire safety


           With summertime right around the corner and the warm weather approaching, we will all begin using our outdoor spaces once again. Sometimes these outdoor areas involve the use of open flame devices.  Whether it’s barbecuing or sitting around a fire pit or chiminea, People are using outdoor spaces for recreation now more than ever. Here are a few simple safety tips everyone can follow to make sure that they have a fun and safe summer. The first thing to remember if you are using an outdoor grill is to make sure that it is clean and that there is no grease buildup. Enforce a “safety zone” of 3 feet around the grill keeping it clear of combustible materials and also keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Location of the grill is very important in keeping a safe cooking environment. You should always keep you grill at least 5 feet away from any combustible structure or wall. Remember that a wooden deck is combustible. Make sure that you are using the proper utensils when cooking that will keep you a safe distance from the flames. When lighting a propane or natural gas grill always make sure you keep the lid open, if the lid is closed gas could build up and possibly cause an explosion when the grill is ignited. Also make sure that you check all the hoses for cracks and leaks and check the burner tubes for obstructions. For charcoal grills, use ONLY charcoal starting fluid and do not add starting fluid once the coals have ignited. For storage of the charcoal keep briquettes in a sealed container. It will keep your charcoal dry and fresh and it will avoid any accidents from occurring. If a fire in your grill should occur be prepared! For propane grill fires shut off all burners, if you can safely reach the tank valve, shut it off. If the fire involves the tank, leave it alone; evacuate the area and call 911. For charcoal grills make sure you keep the lid nearby and if a fire occurs place the lid on the grill. For fires on electric grills make sure you disconnect the power. Never try to extinguish a grill fire with water, it can cause a flare up and make the fire bigger. Always use an approved extinguisher.

          Many of us use outdoor fire pits to take the chill off of the cold night air. We must remember to take proper safety precautions when we use our fire pits to ensure the safety of our family, friends, and our property. The first thing to remember is to keep your fire small. Residential fire pits are not designed for bonfires! The larger the fire you have, the greater the chance to have a problem. There is also a township ordinance that regulates the size of an allowable fire to a maximum 3’ in diameter and 2’ in height. The fire must also be contained in a noncombustible chiminea, outdoor fireplace or fire pit. When you are deciding where to set up your area for having a fire make sure that you stay 10’ away from any combustible structures, including decks, porches and balconies. Make sure you are not under an overhang, which also means the overhang from trees as well as structures. Choose an area for your fire or fire container where the ground is solid and stable. Be sure that you have a way to extinguish your fire nearby like a water hose, a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher, and that all safeguards on your fire pit/container are in place like wire mesh on the openings to prevent the passage of burning embers. Never leave your fire area unattended and never leave children or pets around the fire without proper supervision. Children may not understand the hazards present when around a fire.

           If at any time your fire starts to get out of control be sure to dial 9-1-1. Following these tips will ensure that you keep safe and have fun when enjoying your outdoor space. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about fire safety please feel free to contact us. You can also view the full township ordinance on open burning from our home page under “hot topics”.