Fired Up About Fall?
As soon as pumpkin spice lattes debut…it’s fall, y’all! Pumpkin spice, sweaters, scarves, and bonfire weather top my autumn list. What fall events or items get you fired up? The calendar shows a little bit of time before September 22, 2022 – the first day of fall this year. Florida weather indicates we have even longer. We must make it safely through hurricane season and into November to have a truly cold day. But even Floridians can plan accordingly for those fleeting days of fall.
Many people think of camping or grilling as summer activities. In South Florida, these are closer to fall or winter events. It’s much too hot to enjoy a fire in August. But if we’re lucky, there might be a day in September or October where we can sport sweaters or scarves and sit around a fire. In advance of the picturesque moment, let’s prep the barbie.
Whether you’re going to have a bonfire, use the fireplace, or simply grill out – safety is a must. So, start by preparing your fire arena.
- Create or locate a clear area.
- Avoid brush, branches, dry leaves, or tall grasses.
- Check to see if you need a burn permit.
- Have a bucket of water or hose nearby.
- Have your fireplace cleaned and inspected annually.
- Use appropriate wood; hardwood dried for 6 months or more.
- Move furniture away from the fireplace.
- Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
- Check and clean your hose connection.
- Fill your propane tanks.
- Clean the grease trap.
- Test for a few minutes before cooking.
Put on your favorite Halloween movie, sweater, and now you’re ready for fall. Or are you? What if one of those cozy fires goes awry? It can’t hurt to have a safety plan in place. This includes something all homes should have: a fire extinguisher.
I am a little biased, working in the fire safety industry, but you really can’t be too prepared. Last week, a man brought in his fire extinguisher to be recharged. He’d used it when the olive oil-coated roast he put on the grill caught fire…then the grill caught fire…it was near the exterior wall of his home. Luckily, he had a home fire extinguisher and knew how to use it. He was able to extinguish the fiery ball of charred meat and put his grill fire out successfully.
If you have a home fire extinguisher, fire protection is simple. Perhaps during your bonfire you take it outside in case you need to use it. If you grill or use your fireplace often it would be best to permanently mount a fire extinguisher in an easily accessible location on your emergency egress (or path out the door).
You can purchase a fire extinguisher at Wal-Mart, Home Depot, or any locally licensed fire equipment dealer in your area. New extinguishers come with a mounting hook or bracket. Refurbished extinguishers will need one if you plan on mounting it. Though there are many types of fires, an 2A:10:BC fire extinguisher should do the trick. These will extinguish three different types of fires. If you are using some wild grilling contraption or having 15-foot bonfires, you may want to up your level of fire protection.
Finally, after you experience fall fires – what’s next? Realistically you’ll want to ensure the fire is safely extinguished and your grill, fireplace, or fire pit is ready to be enjoyed again. See some tips below to set yourself up for success.
- Stop adding fuel.
- Allow firewood to burn down to ash.
- Pour water over ashes to cool them.
- Mix the water/ash to distribute water.
- Dispose of ashes in a metal trash can when they are no longer burning or warm.
- Ensure the fire is extinguished.
- Wait for 36 hours before removing ash, coal, and debris.
- Put in a metal trash can with a lid.
- Clean your fireplace with appropriate cleaning materials.
- Turn up the heat and let the grill come to full temperature.
- Wait about 30 minutes.
- Use a wire brush dipped in soapy water to clean the grates.
- Turn off gas, let it cool.
- Remove grates and removable parts to soak in soapy water.
- Vacuum your grill (with a wet/dry vacuum).
- Wash, wipe, and put everything back together.
And if you put your fire extinguisher near the bonfire, please remember to put it back. Until the cooler weather winds its way down, sit back and drink your pumpkin spice latte iced. Happy fall, y’all.