by Jeff Hensley, President, North Coast Building Industry Association

Summer is the perfect time to fire up the grill, gather around your backyard fire pit or build a camp fire while enjoying the great outdoors. Just remember to follow proper safety precautions to avoid serious injuries.

These fire safety tips from the U.S. Fire Administration and the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission will help you recognize and avoid fire-related dangers and help you and your loved ones stay safe this summer.

Grill Safety

  • Check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line before using a gas grill. Make sure the tubes where the air and gas mix are not blocked.
  • Do not overfill the propane tank.
  • Open a gas grill before lighting.
  • Be careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire because the flames can flash back up into the container and explode.
  • Closely supervise children who are in the vicinity of outdoor grills. Establish a three-foot safety zone around the grill.
  • Never grill or barbecue in enclosed areas, as carbon monoxide could be produced.
  • Place your grill a safe distance away from any flammable surfaces such as wooden fences or decks, or buildings with wood or vinyl siding or shingles.
  • When grilling with charcoal, dispose of the hot coals properly when you’re done cooking by dousing them with plenty of water and stirring them to ensure that the fire is out.
  • Place used coals in a metal trash bin. Never place coals or ashes in plastic, paper or wooden containers.

Fire Pit and Outdoor Fireplace Safety

  • Keep fire pits and outdoor fireplaces at least 10 feet from your house or other flammable objects.
  • Make sure the fire pit is placed on level ground.
  • Always keep an eye on children around an open fire pit. Create a three-foot safety zone around it.
  • Have water or sand close by in case you need to douse a fire that has gotten too big.
  • Arrange the seating to ensure enough space for people to easily get up and move about without risk of bumping into the fire pit or fireplace.

Campfire Safety

  • Build campfires in an open area at least 15 feet away from tent walls, dry grass and leaves so wind-borne embers can’t spread.
  • Keep campfires small and easily contained.
  • Keep plenty of water and a shovel around to douse the fire when you’re done. Stir it and douse it again with water.
  • Never leave campfires unattended.

For more information about home safety, contact the NCBIA.  Please feel free to use the NCBIA as a resource for any needs that you may have, chances are we have a member that can assist you.   Give us a call Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 440-934-1090.  The NCBIA is your local not-for-profit trade association representing member companies involved in all aspects of home building, remodeling, and other aspects of residential and light commercial construction.  For a list of members visit