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Being safe with outdoor heaters and fire pits

outdoor heater

As the pandemic continues into winter, more people are finding ways to socialize safely outside and seeking ways to stay warm while doing so. Outdoor fire pits, outdoor gas and electric portable heaters are being used in greater numbers. In addition to taking Covid-19 precautions, consider the potential risks associated with outdoor heating sources.

Outdoor Propane and Electric heaters

 How to be safe:

  • Make sure to read and follow the manufacturer instructions prior to using an outdoor heater
  • Place heaters in a location where they cannot be easily overturned
  • Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from the heater
  • Turn off portable heaters when the area in which they are used is not occupied
  • Electric heaters should be used only where they can be plugged directly into the appropriate receptacles or extension cords of adequate current capacity
  • Propane gas heaters need proper ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide build up
fire pit

Fire Pits

Before deciding to light an outdoor fire in a fire pit, follow these safety tips to reduce the chance of an unintentional fire or injury.

  • Ensure the outdoor fire is not more than three feet in diameter and two feet in height.
  • Keep fire pits at least 5 feet from your home, vegetation or anything that can burn.
  • Portable fire pits should be set up on a non-combustible surface such as patio blocks or concrete. Do not set them up on a wood deck or on grass.
  • Keep a three-foot child and pet safety zone around your fire pit.
  • Burn only clean, dry wood.
  • Have fire extinguishing equipment readily available for use. This should include a shovel and two buckets of water, or a charged garden hose or fire extinguisher with a 4-A rating.
  • Ensure the fire is continually attended by an adult until it is completely extinguished.
  • Do not conduct fires on public property where fires are prohibited, such as in a park or on school grounds.

Outdoor Heating Safety for Businesses from the NFPA