Fire Safety & Outdoor Entertaining: Enjoy the Summer Months Safely

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    As the summer months arrive, many of us look forward to outdoor entertaining - barbecues, garden parties, or just enjoying the sunshine! However, spending time outdoors does come with some fire risks that can turn a fun gathering into a disaster very quickly, especially during the summer months. This blog will provide you with some simple fire safety tips to help you keep safe while making the most of the warmer weather.

    What are the fire risks when entertaining outdoors?

    When you’re planning any kind of outdoor entertaining, it’s important to be aware of what fire risks are around you. Being aware is a key step to preventing fires from happening. In this blog, we’ll take a look at the three biggest fire risks:

    • Barbecues and Open Flames: People use their barbecues, fire pits, and outdoor heaters more in the summertime. Proper handling of any equipment that uses fire as a heat source can prevent accidental fires.
    • Electrical Equipment: Outdoor lighting and sound systems often rely on electrical setups that can become a fire risk if they’re not properly managed.
    • Dry Vegetation: Dry grass, leaves, and shrubs are very flammable, especially during hot, dry weather.

    Safety Tips for Barbecues

    Choose the right spot for your barbecue!

    Position your barbecue well away from structures and any dry vegetation or overhanging branches. A distance of 10 feet away is recommended to avoid accidental fire starting.

    Look after your barbecue!

    Clean your barbecue regularly to prevent grease from building up. This is a common cause of flare-ups, especially in the drip tray underneath the grill.

    If you have a gas barbecue, you can do an easy check for gas leaks by applying a soapy water solution to the hose and connections – if you can see bubbles, you’ve got a leak, and you should be careful to avoid having any naked flame near your gas bottle!

    Supervise – barbecues and people!

    Never leave your barbecue unattended when it’s lit. If there are others around, make sure someone is keeping a close eye on children and pets to prevent burn accidents.

    Start your barbecue safely!

    Use the methods recommended by manufacturers to light your barbecue! Charcoal chimney starters or electric starters are designed to ignite fires in a controlled way. Lighter fluid might be quick, but it can very easily cause uncontrollable flames.

    Be prepared for emergencies!

    Make sure you have something on hand to control a fire if it gets out of hand - a fire extinguisher like our Flamebuster is ideal, but even a bucket of sand or water stored nearby can be effective.

    Also, make sure you know how to safely extinguish barbecue fires – remember the fire triangle! Simple actions like covering the barbecue with its lid can reduce oxygen and help to smother the flames.

    Fire Pit Safety Tips

    Pick your spot for the fire pit!

    If possible, place your fire pit on a non-flammable surface, such as concrete or gravel, and make sure the area around the fire pit is free from flammable materials. Remember, fire pits can produce a serious amount of heat when they have been burning for a long time!

    Only burn reliable material!

    Only use seasoned hardwood or approved firewood for your fire pit. Burning general rubbish, leaves, or treated wood can release toxic fumes and increase the risk of uncontrolled fires.

    Be mindful of the wind conditions!

    Before you start your fire pit, think about the direction and strength of the wind. If the wind is strong, it could easily pick up and carry embers away from the fire pit, near flammable materials. During major wildfires, many properties are destroyed by embers travelling on the wind, landing and starting a fire.

    Make sure you put the fire out!

    Never leave a fire pit or any open fire burning overnight. Make sure you extinguish the fire completely using water - the ashes should be cool to the touch before you leave the area.

    Electrical Safety for Outdoor Parties and Events

    Check your equipment!

    If you’re digging out some old electrical equipment for outdoor entertaining, make sure you check all electrical wires and devices for damage before use. Frayed wires can cause short circuits which can quickly lead to electrical fires.

    Use extension leads safely!

    Make sure that any extension leads that you use are rated for outdoor use and avoid overloading them – when an extension lead is overloaded it gets hot very quickly! Also, keep all electrical connections off the ground and away from moisture wherever possible.

    Choose your lighting wisely!

    Similarly to extension leads, make sure that any outdoor lights you use are designed for exterior use and keep them away from flammable materials.

    Using LED lights is the safest option, as they generate less heat than other types of lighting. Using battery-powered LED lights is one of the safest options for outdoor lighting.

    Switch it off!

    Make sure that any electrical devices are switched off and unplugged when they are not being used, especially overnight.

    Managing Dry Vegetation

    Maintain your garden regularly!

    A tidy garden can reduce your fire risks! Check around your garden regularly and remove any dry leaves, twigs, and other debris that could act as fuel for fires.

    Store flammable liquids safely!

    Make sure that any flammable liquids you use, such as petrol for a lawnmower, are stored in appropriate containers away from living areas and any ignition sources.

    Think about a fire break!

    An area of non-flammable surface around your home and entertaining areas can make a big difference if a fire does start in the garden. These areas could be gravel paths or patios, for example.

    Also, keeping your lawn well-watered acts as a barrier to fire spreading – the more moisture grass has, the less flammable it will be.

    Conclusion

    Fire safety is key to making sure that you enjoy your outdoor entertaining and avoid any accidents. Make sure you take the time to create an emergency plan, which includes at least two escape routes from your property. Once your plan is created, tell all family members and any regular guests about it, so they know what to do if a fire did happen. Another vital step is getting the correct fire safety equipment – make sure you have a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit easily accessible. And lastly, be aware of any local fire restrictions, especially during high-risk periods.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-safety-outdoors/fire-safety-outdoors-accessible-version

    Disclaimer

    The Firechief® range includes high-performance fire extinguishers, fire blankets, first aid kits, lithium-ion fire extinguishers and the Kitchen Stove Guard. For more information, call us on +44 (0)330 999 0019 or email sales@firechiefglobal.com.

    The information contained within this blog is provided solely for general informational and educational purposes and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Before taking any actions based upon this information, we advise the reader to consult any and all relevant statutory or regulatory guidance and where felt necessary to consult a qualified fire or industry regulation professional. The use or reliance on any information contained herein is solely at the reader's risk.