Posted by Michael Barber, November 26, 2018 (last updated on December 05, 2018)
The crisp days of Fall means it is time for bonfires outside and warming toes by the fireplace inside. It is also time for jack-o-lanterns to glow with candles. Fall is also the time of year when fire safety should be forefront in our minds.
After a night of trick or treating, and visiting a few "haunted" houses, many gather for community bonfires to sip cider and engage in conversation or to cook marshmallows on a stick. Life123.com offers some good tips on bonfire safety:
- Choose a smart location: Pick a space that is at least 25 feet away from any structure or vehicle, trees, bushes, or brush. Look around and ask yourself if you see things in the area that could easily catch fire and if you find some, pick another location.
- Fire pit building: Make sure the circumference of the fire pit is at least two-feet wider than the fire will be. In addition, the pit for the fire should be dug 18-inches deep. Next, use rocks or gravel and place them on the perimeter of the fire pit. Finally, your bonfire doesn't have to reach to the sky, so only use a minimal amount of wood and replenish as needed.
- Use common sense: Always have a good supply of water nearby to put out spreading flames. You can also use a portable fire extinguisher. Assign some people to be on the extinguish team armed with shovels. Make sure they shovel the fire pit numerous time until all the embers have gone out. Never let children be in charge of the bonfire or cleanup.
Fires can get out of hand quickly, and if someone gets too close to the flames they can easily get burned. This incident would require a trip to the nearest urgent care location for medical treatment.
It is a tradition to put candles in carved pumpkins to light up their faces. Instruct children that while these are a delight to look at, they shouldn't go near them or play with them while the candles are lit. A costume or candy bag may catch on fire in an instant, and a child's first reaction may be to run, causing the fire to burn faster. Talk to you children about candles inside pumpkins this year and if they do get burned, head to an urgent care location for emergency medical care. To reduce all risk of candles, try flameless candles!
For Halloween and Christmas, people hang lights outdoors. But, some are hung incorrectly or too close to other decorations that could easily ignite from faulty wiring or the heat of the lights. Check all wires, outlets, and plugs before hanging lights both indoors and outdoors, and keep decorations that could easily ignite away from lights.
Unless you know how to clean out your fireplace on your own before fire season begins, call a professional. Too many homes are burned each year from blocked fireplaces and it only takes minutes for a living or family room to burn and quickly spread to other areas of the home. Always keep a fire extinguisher near your fireplace and never overload them with too much wood.
The biggest dangers of holiday candles, bonfires, and fireplaces is easily controlled using common sense. Keep safety on top of your list during the holiday season and if a fire ignites, call 9-1-1 immediately.