Blog – Fire and Smoke Damage

How to prevent your outdoor fireplace or fire pit from becoming a hazard to your home

As the weather improves, many people find themselves wanting to spend more time outdoors. Fire pits and outdoor fireplaces offer an excellent way to extend the amount of time that can be comfortably spent outdoors with family and friends.

When planning for your outdoor fireplace or fire pit, comfort and ease of access seem to top the list-but the safety of your family, home, or business, and guests should be the top priority. By following a few simple suggestions, you can avoid having your latest home or business improvement project become a nightmare.

Here are a few things to consider when protecting your home and family from a fire:

  • Proximity to combustible materials. It is recommended that you keep any combustible materials a minimum of 10 feet away from your fireplace.
  • The type of fuel. Wood, gas, or charcoal are the most popular and safest fuels to use in a fire pit or outdoor fireplace. Don’t use chemicals or combustibles, like lighter fluid or gasoline, to get the flames going.
  • Placement. Never place your fireplace on a wooden deck as hot embers can quickly ruin an evening.
  • Supervision and prevention. Always supervise children and pets when a fire pit or outdoor fireplace is in use. Children easily fall and pets sometimes miscalculate their jumps. Many fire pits and fireplaces come with metal grates or curtains that can be placed on top of them–use them.
  • Proper disposal. Never dispose of hot ashes in a plastic waste receptacle. Instead, wait until the ashes have cooled and place them in a trash can made out of metal
  • Be ready. Make sure to have a garden hose, bucket of water, and/or a fire extinguisher close by when using your fireplace or fire pit.
  • Don’t break the law. Before installing a fire pit or outdoor fireplace, check with your local fire department to see if these items are legal to use in your area. Some cities allow outdoor fireplaces only for ascetic purposes, but not for use as a heat source.

When these suggestions are followed your family and guests will be ready to enjoy the extra time outdoors that an outdoor fireplace or fire pit can provide. Always have on hand, however, the numbers for your insurance agent and restoration specialist. Should there be an accident and the unthinkable happen, a restoration specialist can help remediate the damage caused by smoke and water.

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