During the summer months, the smell of grills and outdoor fires are common throughout our North Dakota communities. Warm and long nights bring people out to cook that perfect cut or enjoy conversations around an open fire.
While these evenings bring a lot of enjoyment, they also come with the increased danger of an unwanted and uncontained fire. With a little planning and preparation, you can rest comfortably and enjoy that juicy burger, sticky s’more, or those lingering stories late into the night.
Gas or propane grills
· Before using a grill on a wood structure such as a deck, you should prepare the area with a couple of safety features:
· A fire extinguisher should always be present while the grill is being used.
· A rubber, plastic, or some sort of fire-resistant mat should be placed under the grill to catch any embers, sparks, or grease that could cause the ignition to the decking underneath.
· The grill should be positioned away from the railing and separated from any plants, furniture, or any other item that could ignite.
· Never leave a gas grill unattended. Flare-ups can happen quickly with greasy foods and a fire could erupt in seconds.
· Never use a grill in windy conditions. Winds along upper levels of apartment buildings can be gusty and can quickly tip a grill over while being used. A loose chain (such as a bike lock) should be installed to hold your grill in place. (Just not too tight that it is against the railing!)
· Keep children and pets away from a grill during use to avoid an unfortunate injury.
· Fire pits and charcoal grills should never be used on wood decks.
· Charcoal-type grills should only be used on level ground in a grassy area.
· Secure the bottom of your charcoal grill using a brick or tent stakes to secure the legs.
· Again, only use your charcoal grill in good weather conditions. Charcoal grills by design are top-heavy, and even the slightest wind or an innocent bump can tip the charcoal grill over.
· Make sure that when grilling is complete, the coals are completely extinguished. Even when adding water, charcoal briquettes could still be hot.
Fire pit safety
Fire pit stands
· Use only dry wood. Damp wood can pop and expand, sending embers outside the intended confined area.
· Never use an accelerant like gasoline to ignite the fire. Use only fire starter materials such as fire sticks.
· Once you are done with using the fire pit, you must extinguish all fire completely. Most cities have codes requiring this.
· Never dispose of embers, ash, or burned logs in a trash receptacle. Burned logs can stay hot for days and easily ignite trash.
· Always have a water hose or fire extinguisher at the ready in case an unwanted flame or ignition occurs.
· Children should never be left without adult supervision around any fire. Accidents can happen at a moment’s notice.
If you are currently living in an apartment, check with your rental property management to see what is allowed within your community. And just as important, visit with your Nodak Insurance agent to review what coverage is available to protect yourself and your property while renting.
Have fun this summer and keep the flames where they belong!