Outdoor Fire Hazards

When people think of a fire breaking out they usually think about the inside of their house. However, many house fires actually begin outside of the home. By taking care of the fire hazards that may be outside the home and practicing fire safety tips you can avoid an outdoor fire. 

The grill is one of the biggest fire hazards outside the home. It is important to keep a fire extinguisher nearby when using a grill and to clean it regularly. Grills that are not regularly cleaned can develop a buildup of grease and food particles that can ignite during cooking and cause a grease fire.

Make sure children and pets are kept at least 3 feet away from the grill while it is on to avoid injury and make sure everyone knows how to “stop, drop, and roll” in case a fire starts.

 When deciding where to place your grill make sure it’s at least 3 feet away from siding or decking because it can burn. A hot grill can easily scorch or ignite certain types of home siding.  

Also, never use flammable liquids to ignite your charcoal. Either use a charcoal starter chimney or quick start coals. 

Fire pits are another safety hazard when it comes to an outdoor fire. Sparks can easily hop out of the pit and onto nearby flammable debris. Your fire pit should be at least 10 feet from your home or any other combustible object. Before lighting your fire pit clean the area around the pit. Make sure there are no leaves or twigs lying nearby and wet down the ground around the pit with a hose. This will help to put out any sparks that escape the fire. Never use flammable liquids to start your fire pit; instead, use paper and kindling. 

Garages can be an often overlooked source of fire. Do not store gasoline, paint, or other flammable liquids inside as the possibility of them igniting puts the house at risk. For paint and gasoline, an outdoor shed is a safer location for storage. The biggest risk for a home fire in the garage is a space heater. Every year in the United States space heater fires cause more than 300  fire deaths with more than 6,000 Americans receiving hospital ER care because of space heaters. 

To be safer with your heater there are several precautions you can take. First, never plug a space heater into an extension cord. Space heaters were designed to be plugged directly into the wall. Next, be sure the area around the space heater is clear. Never drape anything over your heater or leave it too close to anything that will cause it to be an ignition source.  

When looking for a space heater choose one that includes safety features such as overheat protection, auto shutoff, and a cool touch housing.