Fire Pit Accidents
Fire pits, also known as fire treatments, can be a beautiful and exciting addition to a backyard. They allow for another home activity that families and friends can enjoy while catching up. However, fire pit accidents are particularly dangerous. They can place an entire family in danger. In extreme cases, they may even place the family’s home or neighboring homes in danger as well.
There are two basic types of fire pits that are commonly used in America’s backyards today: gas fire pits and wood fire pits. Each type of fire pit has its own pros and cons. Some of the benefits may include easier cleaning or upkeep, improved durability, or cheaper fuel. However, the most important factor when selecting any fire pit is safety.
Types of Fire Pits
A fire pit that is used in the backyard is close enough to place your home at risk if there is a fire pit accident. It can also tempt children, of all ages, as a desirable method of mischief. For these reasons, fire pit safety is critical. The best way to address fire pit safety is to start by picking the right fire pit for your home. Some types of fire pits may be safer because of the design or the fuel that is used.
Gas Fire Pits
Liquid propane and natural gas fire pits can be similar to using a gas grill. The fire pit runs off of propane or natural gas, which is connected to the pit with a hose. There is a nozzle that is easily turned to start or stop the flow of fuel into the fire pit, allowing families to use the fire pit at a moment’s notice. Some gas fire pits use a pilot light, while others require an actual lighter once the fuel is turned on. Generally, this type of fire pit requires less attention once it is already running. However, liquid propane and natural gas fire pits bring a unique set of dangers.
Potential hazards for gas fire pit accidents include:
- A person may accidentally leave the propane or natural gas running after the fire has been extinguished. This is potentially dangerous in case there is a spark near the pit.
- It is important to check the hose for leaks, holes, or other signs of damage. If the hose is damaged, then the fuel may be leaking in areas where it could be ignited by a spark.
- If too much fuel is allowed to fill the fire pit just before lighting, the flames may shoot up suddenly.
- Due to the nature of the fuel, these types of fire pits are easy to start. For families with very young children, it may be safer to purchase a wood fire pit and avoid children’s fire pit accidents.
Wood Fire Pits
Wood fire pits have been used by families for a much longer time than gas fire pits. Many users feel that wood fire pits provide the most authentic outdoor fire experience, due to the smell and the crackling logs. Wood-burning fire pits do require constant attention while they are running, so they may not be the best option for people who are easily distracted. However, for families with young children, wood fire pits may be the safest choice since they do not start with the turn of a nozzle.
Prevent Fire Pit Accidents
To avoid fire pit accidents, keep the following fire pit safety tips in mind:
- Keep the areas surrounding the fire pit clear of brush, dead vegetation, or dry vegetation. A good rule of thumb is to allow for a 10- to 20-foot circle cleared of flammable vegetation around the fire pit. If a fire pit accident does happen, this will prevent the problem from escalating.
- Do not place the fire pit under low-hanging trees.
- Purchase a spark screen for the fire pit, and use it every time to avoid fire pit accidents.
- Do not use lighter fluid to start the fire pit. In the event of a fire pit accident, the presence of lighter fluid can allow the flames to spread very quickly.
- Never attempt to move a fire pit that is in use. Only move a fire pit that is cold.
- Protect yourself and your family from wood fire pit accidents by using a log grabber or poker whenever the fire pit is ignited.
- Keep a fire extinguisher and garden hose easily accessible while using the fire pit. If a spark escapes through the screen, the fire extinguisher and garden hose can prevent fire pit accidents from spreading.