The season is here. It’s that time of year when people move outside to dine, entertain and socialize. Unfortunately many of those outdoor activities, such as grilling, sitting around a fire pit or lighting up some sparklers, present a real and dangerous fire safety issue. Unattended grills and fire pits or a sparkler carelessly tossed aside can lead to tragedy when a fire spreads. Lake area fire officials urge residents and visitors to play it safe when it comes to fire safety.
With summer and the season quickly approaching the Osage Beach Fire Protection District reminds residents and visitors that changes to the fire safety rules could have an impact on them. if they live in multi-story, multi-unit structures such as condominiums and apartment complexes.
OBFPD District Chief Jeff Dorhauer said the guidelines are easy to follow and reduce the risk of causing a structure fire.
1-No Charcoal Grills allowed under any circumstance
2-LP BBQ Grills allowed, however they must be at the furthest point away from the structure along the railing. Note if there are sidewalls on decks/balconies separating each unit then these BBQ grill must be not only along the railing but in the center of the deck along the railing.
3-No more than two (2) 20lb cylinders can be on the deck (1 in use and 1 backup)
4-A fire extinguisher must be present on the balcony.
The district passed the rule following a fatal condo fire that claimed the lives of four children. While the rule change was not popular with many residents, Dorhauer said it was a matter of public safety.
General grilling tips
•Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
•The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
•Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
•Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
•Never leave your grill unattended.
•When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.
Fire pits and bonfires
While sitting around an outdoor fire pit or bonfire is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, it’s also a big responsibility. Even a small fire can can out of control.
•Choose a location well away from any structures, flammable objects, tents, trees and other hazards.
•Choose a level, open area.
•Maintain an manageable fire size.
•Make fire is completely extinguished. Never leave embers burning.
•Don’t burn dangerous things like aerosol cans, pressurized containers, glass or aluminum cans. They could explode, shatter and or create harmful fumes.
USDA Forest Service makes these recommendations about putting out campfires, but they could be applicable to other outdoor burning situations including bonfires or fire pits.
•Drown the fire with water.
•Mix the ashes and embers with soil. Scrape all partially-burned sticks and logs to make sure all the hot embers are off them.
•Stir the embers after they are covered with water and make sure that everything is wet.
•Feel the coals, embers and any partially-burned wood with your hands. Everything should be cool to the touch. Feel under the rocks to make sure there are no embers underneath.
•When you think you are done, take an extra minute and add more water.
•Finally, check the entire area for possible sparks or embers, because it only takes one to start a fire.
•If it is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave.