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Remember fire pit dangers as the nights turn cooler

As the evenings get cooler, people might decide to take the chill out of outdoor gatherings by lighting a fire pit. You can find dedicated fire pits for your home, but some people make them in the sand. Either way, everyone around the fire pit should make sure that they remain safe.

The danger of a fire pit when it is lit is pretty obvious. Some children and all adults should know that the fire is hot and shouldn't be touched. Anyone who is working with the fire pit should make sure that they are only placing safe items, such as wood, into the fire pit. Chemicals shouldn't ever be used because of the danger of explosions and injury.

The danger of the fire pit after you put the fire out is something that isn't easily spotted. The embers of the pit will remain hot after the fire is extinguished. If the fire was in the sand and you choose to bury it, you should remember that sand acts as an insulator. This means that if you bury the embers in the sand and someone digs in the area, he or she might suffer a burn injury.

Instead of just burying the embers, they should be extinguished with water. Douse the embers, wait about five minutes and douse them again. This can help to take the heat off them so other people don't get burned.

People who are burned because of the embers in a fire pit or in an explosion should make sure that they get care for the injuries they suffered. This can be as minor as cooling the area off with water or as serious as needing debriding or skin grafts to help the area heal. If the burn was the result of negligence, you might choose to seek compensation for the damage.

Source: UC Irvine Health, "Hidden dangers of fire pits," John Murray, accessed Oct. 17, 2017

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