Top 10 Bonfire Safety Tips

Backyard fire pit

School is out and summer has officially begun! One of the things that I’m looking forward to the most is meeting up with friends over a bonfire. Here are a few safety tips to brush up on before your first bonfire.

  1. Review your local ordinances regarding bonfires.
    Some cities have “burn bans” or may require a burn permit. This interactive map of Michigan can help you find information specific to your city or check your city’s website.
  1. Don’t use any accelerants to start the fire.
    The fumes alone can create a trail of fire back to the fire starter or those in the surrounding area.
  1. Consider the weather.
    Avoid starting a bonfire on a windy night so sparks are less likely to blow onto surrounding structures and trees.
  1. Don’t add combustible items to the fire.
    This includes fireworks, bullets, batteries and aerosol cans.
  1. Wear proper attire.
    Non-flammable clothing and hard-soled shoes with socks are ideal. It’s especially important to avoid being barefoot or wearing flip flops. This story about a Grand Rapids news anchor highlights the importance of proper attire.
  1. Be mindful of alcohol consumption.
    Beer and bonfires often go hand in hand, but make sure you aren’t so impaired that you put yourself or your friends at risk for injury.
  1. Have fire extinguishing equipment available.
    A rake or shovel should be nearby as well as a bucket of water.
  1. Teach children a safe path to walk.
    Always walk behind chairs when moving around a bonfire. One little trip in the dark could lead to a terrible burn.
  1. Keep your pet’s safety in mind.
    Keep pets out of the path of hot embers and fire sparks. From personal experience, I also suggest a glow-in-the-dark collar for dark-colored dogs. Our black Lab was nearly invisible in the dark and I almost tripped and fell over her into the fire.
  1. Put the fire out before you call it a night.
    Fully extinguish the fire with the water and rake the coals to make sure they’re all covered.

For more information, check out Michigan DNR’s Campfire and Outdoor Burning Tips.

– Erica Surman, RN, BSN, Pediatric Trauma Program Manager, Beaumont Health System


2 thoughts on “Top 10 Bonfire Safety Tips

  1. Pingback: Firepit Safety Tips | Let's Talk Insurance

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