Fire pits provide warmth, but be careful


By Lisa Braxton

During a recent Saturday I spent a lovely afternoon with friends at a Cape Cod waterfront resort. The grounds were breathtaking and terraced. The resort’s restaurant overlooked a patio, cabanas, and two beaches. Sailboats bobbed in the distance. The afternoon started out in the mid-80s, but by dusk the temperature dropped to the 60s and the wind picked up.

I looked down from my restaurant table and saw tall flames flickering from a large, circular fire pit in the center of the patio. Eager to warm themselves, about a dozen resort guests gathered around the fire pit; some sat with their backs to it on its stone ledge. My friends, who know I work for NFPA, suggested tongue-in-cheek that I leave my meal, run down the stairs and alert the guests to keep a safe distance from the fire pit. I didn’t have to. Pretty soon, a man and his son jumped off the ledge, rubbing their backs. Other guests moved away too.

As summer winds down, we’ll likely see more use of fire pits and other portable fireplaces. It’s important to follow safety rules, including keeping anything that can burn at least three feet away. You can check out additional information on portable fireplace safety and our tip sheet on the NFPA web site.

Source:: NFPA – Safety Information

Michael S. Williams

Michael S. Williams

Williams founded the Fire Services Training Institute in 1995 to find solutions to the challenges confronting the volunteer fire service. He has been an active member of California State Firefighters Association (CSFA) since 1994, having served on the volunteer and public relations committees, and as a southern division deputy director. He sits on several local organizations including the Santa Barbara County Fire Safe Council, the Tri-Counties Training Officers Association, Santa Barbara Chapter of CAER and is a founding member of the Santa Barbara PIO group Emergency Public Information Communicators (EPIC). He has been the author of many articles and a columnist for a local newspaper on public safety matters. He is also the co-host of Community Alert on KZSB AM-1290 in Santa Barbara. Williams has been a member of the California State Board of Fire Services since 2008. Prior to becoming involved in the volunteer fire service, Williams was a California police officer for 12 ½ years and a POST certified Field Training Officer. He is a licensed private investigator and security consultant specializing in self-insured, government and insurance defense assignments.

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