Fire pits are beautiful and heartwarming. As more and more homeowners are adding outdoor rooms to their home, the use of pits and outdoor fireplaces has grown in popularity. No wonder; who doesn’t enjoy sitting around a fire with friends and family to enjoy some memorable summer fun? Though many outdoor fire containers are designed with safety in mind, property safety measures must be used to prevent accidents. Here are a few tips to prevent damage to personal property by fire.
Fire Pits and Homeowners Insurance
Understandably, the presence of a flame on a property is a concern to insurance companies that write personal property insurance. Many accidents can and do occur every year from flames in backyards. If a fire were to jump out of the container and spread, damage to the homeowners’ personal property or neighboring properties could be substantial. Losses by fire are the most common type of homeowners’ insurance claims. Every property owner should take every measure to ensure that backyard fires are safely contained at all times.
Check and Follow Local Codes Regarding Open Fires in Residential Areas
Most local codes indicate where, or if all, open fires can be lit in residential areas. These codes are created to prevent the fire from accidentally igniting existing homes, fences, or other personal property. Typically, an open fire must be located more than 25 feet from a structure. Local fire departments will have this information available to the public.
Light A Fire Pit on Non-Flammable Surface
Pits should be located on a non-flammable surface such as stone, steel or masonry. If the fire is lit on a wood or wood composite deck, the fire could spread to the property causing damage to the house or other personal property in the backyard area.
Make an Outdoor Fire Safety Plan
Make sure that everyone using a fire knows and understands what to do if the fire were to spread. Is there always someone present who knows how to use a fire extinguisher? The key to preventing accidents from fire pits is to acknowledge that they can happen. Spend some time thinking about possible accidents from deck furniture tipping over or other personal property that may be too close to the fire.
Are there low hanging branches or dry flammable lawn debris nearby? A gust of wind could easily spread burning embers to areas where a fire could ignite.
Personal property insurance underwriters often have many questions for homeowners who have fire pits. Questions will be along the lines of where the fire pit is located and what safety plan does the homeowner have to address the possibility of fire. Actively taking the necessary steps to avoid accidents will ensure years of enjoyment from a backyard fire pit.