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Safety Tips for Backyard Heaters and Firepits

Whether it’s the gentle warmth of spring, the dog days of summer, or the crisp air of fall, spending time outdoors in our backyards is a joy we all cherish. Gas heaters and firepits are a great way to extend the use of your outdoor space before it gets too cold, but there are precautions to take to enjoy the fire outside your home and keep it from spreading to the inside. 

Gas and Propane Outdoor Heaters

Gas and propane heaters provide a convenient and economical way to enjoy outdoor gatherings with family and friends. However, maintaining caution and regular upkeep are crucial to prevent any mishaps:

  • The condition of your propane tank is important. Keep an eye on the condition of your propane tank, replacing it if it's expired or shows signs of damage.
  • Never bring your propane tank indoors. Bringing a propane tank indoors can be extremely dangerous due to the risk of fire, explosion, and carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Be mindful of flammables or combustibles in the area. Avoid placing flammable items near the heater to prevent accidental fires caused by ignited debris.
  • Ensure the area is properly ventilated. Without adequate ventilation, propane will not burn as cleanly, and the buildup of carbon monoxide can quickly exceed safe limits. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas, that when breathed in, reduces the amount of oxygen that can be transported by your red blood cells. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can vary depending on the level of exposure, but they often include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, confusion, chest pain, and loss of consciousness. In severe cases, carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal.
  • Check for leaks in the tanks, nozzle and hose caused by damage or lose fittings. Lines and connections are the weak points in a gas/propane system. If you smell a gas odor, turn off the appliance immediately and address the leak before further use.
  • Practice safe storage of propane tanks. Tanks should be placed or stored in a safe location where they will not be accidently knocked over or run into by a vehicle.

Wood Fireplaces, Firepits and Chimeneas

Fireplaces, firepits and chimeneas are easy ways add style and warmth to any outdoor setting but require vigilant supervision to avoid accidents:

  • Check and follow municipal regulations. It’s important to check and follow your local municipal regulations before using a fire pit. Ensure that you comply with safe distances from fences, bushes, sheds, and garages.
  • Always keep fires under control. Keep fires contained within appropriate structures and have necessary safety equipment nearby for extinguishing (i.e. hose, buckets, fire extinguisher, etc.).
  • Do not burn in hot and dry conditions. A single spark from the bonfire can easily ignite nearby dry grass, leaves, or bushes, leading to a rapidly spreading wildfire.
  • Avoid burning if it’s windy. Wind exacerbates the spread of fire by carrying embers and flames to distant areas.
  • Do not use flammable liquids to help ignite your fire, or burn toxic materials, plastics, or treated wood which can cause your fire to get out of control quickly.
  • Never leave a fire unattended. Always make sure the fire has been fully extinguished before you leave.
  • Make sure firewood and other flammables are stored well away from the fire. This helps reduce the risk of fire spreading uncontrollably and help ensure the safety of yourself and others enjoying the fire.
  • Be aware of any local bylaws or advisories as they relate to fires to avoid the risk of wildfires or fines.
  • It's safer to light fires after dark when sparks and embers are more visible.
  • Secure permits if required. Certain townships and cities may require you to obtain an open-air burn permit.

By following these safety measures, you can enjoy your outdoor space while minimizing the risk of accidents or damage to your home and property. Remember to also contact your Ayr Farmers Mutual Insurance Agent or Broker for additional information on protecting your home and property.

Talk to your Ayr Farmers Mutual Insurance Agent or Broker today about your property insurance coverage, or request a free, no obligation quote on home insurance.

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Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended as professional insurance advice. The coverage, terms, and conditions of each insurance policy are unique and subject to individual circumstances. The information provided does not guarantee the availability or suitability of any insurance policy for your specific needs. You should not rely on the information in the blog as an alternative to professional advice from your Insurance Broker or Insurance Company. If you have any specific questions about any insurance matter, please consult a Licensed Insurance Agent or Insurance Broker for personalized advice and guidance.

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