June is National Safety Month. We’ve discussed the Stats And Effects Of Drowsy Driving and How To Be A Safe Driver plus Tips To Improve Your Garage’s Safety. Continuing our theme of safety and keeping in mind that we have also entered the summer months, we are going to share a few tips about fire safety and staying safe when having a bonfire at home.

Whether you have a firepit already established at home or are considering building one, there are a few safety tips to ensure your night around the bonfire is enjoyable for all.

First and foremost, you should be familiar with the common causes of fire accidents and ways to prevent them from occurring.

When is comes to a controlled firepit—or bonfire—you should strictly adhere to the following fire safety rules.

  1. Start the fire naturally with twigs or dry grass and a match. Do not add flammable liquids to expedite the lighting of the fire or to keep the fire from dying down.
  2. Don’t wear loose clothing or materials known to be flammable when gathering around the bonfire and be sure to advise your guests.
  3. Before lighting up the firepit, check for the weather conditions—will it be a windy evening and which way will the wind be blowing? Make sure the wind won’t blow any embers into dry grass or a building structure like your home or shed.
  4. Check what type of wood you are using for your bonfire. Some woods, like pine and cedar “pop” and can throw embers from the firepit. Others, like “Christmas” trees, burn extremely hot and extremely quickly—which can cause a fire to grow out of control at a home bonfire.
  5. Keep all attendees at your bonfire at least 3 feet back, especially children and pets. Also ensure the area around the firepit is clear of obstruction to avoid the risk of someone tripping and landing in the bonfire.

Hosting a bonfire and inviting friends and family over can make for an evening of fun. When done properly, it also makes for a safe night. From an insurance standpoint, hosts of bonfires should ensure they have the proper coverage levels for liability and damage caused by a fire. Also, keep in mind that some towns or counties may require a burn permit—and so may some insurance carriers. The disclosure of a firepit may be necessary to avoid any disqualification of your policy. Contact your insurance agent or contact an independent agent from Magruder Agency to review your home insurance policy with you.