Fire safety starts before striking the match

Striking the match, family around fire it

Yay, summer has finally arrived, and so has the pleasure of striking the match to light the pit fire. Outdoor activities will undoubtedly be a change from the quarantine to which we have become accustomed over recent months. One of the favorite summer activities of my family is socializing around a pit-fire under evening stars. Making s’ mores and roasting marshmallows with the kids are some of the best memories we have.

Our children are now parents, and we watch them teaching their children about fire safety. Burns and fire-related injuries are not the type of memories we cherish. Here is a list of precautions that are now being passed down to our family’s next generation.

striking the match, toasting marshmallow
Making memories

Precautions before striking the match

When you go camping, it is especially important to find a suitable location to make a fire. Once you have established that, you need to know whether there are any restrictions or fire ban in that area. The fireplace should not be near any buildings, trees, branches or any flammable materials. Piling dirt or bricks or stones or any non-flammable material around your fire will contain it. You should always have something nearby to put out the fire. Things that come to mind are a shovel, a bucket filled with water or an appropriate fire extinguisher. Before striking the match to light the fire, note the wind direction and ensure nothing flammable is downwind.

Striking the match

A big NO is using fuel or any accelerant to start your fire. The flames produced could be uncontrollable. Make sure to use dry wood. Treated coated or painted wood releases toxic smoke, which can be extremely dangerous to man and animal. Finding driftwood near a river is also not recommended for its toxic smoke emission. One should never burn any plastic, rubber, garbage or any other toxic waste. Avoid loose-fitting clothing, and make sure to roll up your shirtsleeves. Tie your hair and secure jewelry.

Striking the match, children
Supervise children near the fire

After lighting the fire

Ensure that your children, guests and pets are supervised and a safe distance away from the fire. Use chairs to form a safe perimeter around the fire. No running around; everyone who wants to enjoy the fire should sit down. They should walk behind the chairs if they’re going to go somewhere. When roasting marshmallows or any similar food, follow cooking safety precautions. Waving around sticks with marshmallows or putting food into the fire is dangerous

This is not the alpha and omega of fire safety. However, it should be enough to keep you safe whenever you’re striking the match this summer. Remember that safety does not stop because you are off the clock, but enjoy your time away and stay safe. Do not become complacent because there will be many family cookouts and fires in the years to come.

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