There is nothing like a campfire to create a cozy atmosphere when friends and family get together under the stars. A fire draws the gaze and lets you keep warm while socializing in the cool of the evening. A campfire can even be used to cook a meal if you have the right type of fire and accessories. But where there is fire, there is extreme heat. It is important to take precautions to keep everyone safe around a backyard campfire.
Risk of Injury With Backyard Fire Pits
The popularity of backyard fire pits is on the rise, and so is the risk of injury, particularly for children. Fire pits and outdoor heaters injured 5,300 or more people who were treated in emergency rooms in a recent year, as reported by NBC News. Approximately 25% of the people injured were under the age of five. Many burn injuries occur the day after a backyard campfire and are caused by still hot coals.
Safety Tips for Backyard Campfires
Backyard campfires are fun, but they come with a risk of injury. The following tips can help minimize the risk for your family and guests:
- Check with local authorities to make sure burning is allowed: Rules can change depending on wind, lack of precipitation, and other factors.
- Build your fire in a safe area: It should be in an enclosed area, such as a fire pit or bowl, where the fire can be contained. The spot you choose for your campfire should be in the open, away from structures and trees. Make sure no tree branches are overhanging the fire, as flying sparks could set a tree on fire.
- Clear the fire pit area: Clean out any fallen leaves or debris before you start a campfire. Remove old ashes from the pit, and make sure you have fire extinguishing supplies nearby.
- Use only the right fuel for your fire pit: If it is designed to burn wood, use seasoned, dry wood, which burns hotter and cleaner. Do not burn old pieces of furniture or anything painted, stained, or chemically treated. Start small and build your fire up gradually. Avoid using lighter fluid to start a fire, as this can lead to dangerous flare-ups.
- Do not take your eyes off young children while a fire is burning: Instruct them to stay 10 feet back from the fire and remind them of all the safety rules. It takes only a few seconds for a serious accident to occur.
- Extinguish the fire properly when the night is over: Check manufacturer guidelines and ensure you have all the necessary tools. All embers should be out and should not be emanating heat. A campfire that is still smoldering has the potential to spark and start a fire on your property. Children should be supervised until the temperature returns to normal.
It is important to have homeowners insurance in case someone is injured through a campfire or otherwise on your property. Our knowledgeable agent can help you find a policy that suits your needs at the best available rates.