Ring of Safety: Top 9 Fire Pit Safety Tips

Family sitting around fire pit in their backyard.

Who doesn’t love a freshly cooked s’more with a perfectly toasted marshmallow?

Unfortunately, fire is inherently dangerous, and every year terrible terrible incidents occur. Here, Abby Beerman, an injury prevention coordinator at University of Vermont Medical Center and Children’s Hospital, provides a list of safety tips to help you create only happy memories. 

Fire Pit Safety Tips

  • Examine the area around the fire ring, pit or bowl for tripping hazards. Move toys, kindling and chairs at least three feet away from the fire.
  • Make sure everyone understands the area around the fire is a strict No Run Zoneespecially children.
  • Only burn wood. Do not use accelerants such as gasoline, aerosol spray or lighter fluid to start or keep the fire burning. In fact, keep accelerants and other flammable materials far upwind from the fire to reduce the risk of ignition by sparks.
  • When you finish with the fire for the day, fully extinguish it by pouring water over the remaining coals. Coals, ashes and embers can stay hot enough to cause burns for up to 24 hours. The American Burn Association recommends that you completely extinguish a camp fire by pouring water over the coals, stir the coals and then pour water again until it is cool. 
  • Never bury a fire. Individuals can be seriously burned when they come in contact with day-old coals or walk over a recently buried fire pit.
  • Alcohol impairs your balance and your ability to react. When around a campfire, limit your risk of tripping into the fire or becoming severely burned by being mindful of what and how much you are drinking.
  • Keep fires manageable and at a size appropriate for the location. Be mindful of the height of the flames, wind and weather conditions.
  • Designate a person whose job it is to watch the fire and enforce the No Run Zone. 
  • Keep a bucket or hose nearby in case the fire or ashes need to be extinguished.

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