Featured image: Vintage fire pit
If you love entertaining outside or simply want to keep your family warm during the evening, a fire pit is a great addition to the garden. These installations are becoming increasingly popular in the UK and there are a wide variety of different styles available including portable pits, designs you can fit safely on a patio and ones that are permanently built into the garden design itself.
Maintaining safety, of course, is important when you are dealing with something like a fire. Much will depend on the type of fire pit that you buy, particularly whether it’s a wood burner or gas or oil fuelled.
Pick your location
The first thing to consider is where you place the fire pit. You don’t want it too close to important structures like your garden shed or the wall of your house. You will probably also want to avoid any overhanging trees, bushes or fences. A good, central and open location is better and it’s a good idea to make sure people have enough room to sit around comfortably without getting too close to the flames.
The size of fire
Another issue to think about is the size of the fire you are going to create. The good news is that you don’t need a big installation to create the warmth you need. Keep it smaller rather than building a big pile of wood that could get out of control if the wind suddenly gets up.
Don’t be tempted to start the fire going by pouring on petrol or any other flammable liquid – essentially this is how bad accidents occur. Follow the instructions for your fire pit and don’t try to hurry things along.
Another thing you need to keep in mind is the ventilation. You don’t want your garden filling with fumes or smoke, choking everyone, so choosing the right location and making sure there’s plenty of free space is important.
You should either have a fire extinguisher close by in case things get out of control or at least a garden hose or bucket of water. While fire pits are quite safe normally, you should always be prepared in case something unexpected happens. When you have finished for the evening, you should not leave the fire pit to die down on its own – make sure you extinguish the fire so you don’t get any nasty surprises once you’ve moved back indoors.
Gas and oil fire pits
There may be occasions when you leave your fire pit and don’t use it for a while. With wood fire pits, it’s just a question of giving it a clean and preparing it for use again. With gas and oil fire pits, you also need to check the connections and make sure that everything is working properly. Your fire pit should come with a set of instructions and a good maintenance guide so it’s important to follow these.
If you have a portable fire pit, always make sure that you put it way somewhere safe or cover properly when it’s not in use.
Fire pit safety is common sense and as long as you follow the tips above, as well as any other the manufacturer supplies with your installation, you shouldn’t have much to worry about. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and a little extra attention here and there can make a big difference.