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St. John’s Regional Fire Department warns public about chimenea and outdoor fireplace use

Chimeneas and fire pits can pose a danger if not installed and used properly. The St. John’s Regional Fire Department is asking residents to following a list of criteria to ensure your summer fun is a safe and enjoyable one.
Chimeneas and fire pits can pose a danger if not installed and used properly. The St. John’s Regional Fire Department is asking residents to following a list of criteria to ensure your summer fun is a safe and enjoyable one. - Sam McNeish

Warm weather means more outdoors time for family and friends.

People gathering for a barbecue, a drink or just a nice night under the stars.

Those activities have traditionally done in backyards where residents are employing chimeneas and outdoor fireplaces.

“With these devices, like those inside your home, there is a safety component that must be adhered to in order to ensure your safety and that of your neighbours and friends,’’ Captain Mike Maher, fire prevention officer with the St. John’s Regional Fire Department (SJRFD) said in a news release Thursday.
The St. John’s Regional Fire Department is reminding residents that to ensure the well-being of your family, guests and property while enjoying your heating product.

“Each of these devices pose serious safety hazards if not used properly,’’ Maher said.
“Burning embers and flying sparks can escape from the device and threaten your house or yard, or the unit itself might tip over due to careless installation practices,” he added.

The following fire safety precautions will help ensure these devices are operated in a safe manner:

• Wind speeds are not in excess of 25 km per hour.

• Smoke does not cause an annoyance to adjoining properties.

In addition, these open-air fireplaces are required to be:

• Installed in conformance with manufacturer’s instructions, if supplied.

• Located at least three metres from any building, structure or combustible material.

• Capable of completely containing/enclosing the fire.

• Equipped with a spark arrestor and/or screen to prevent escape of sparks and/or embers.

• Placed on a firm and level surface which has a non-combustible base beneath it, a minimum of 0.5 m completely outside the perimeter of the unit.

• Attended by someone with access to a fire extinguisher, bucket of water or another water source while operating. A copy of the complete regulations can be obtained at the St. John’s and Mount Pearl websites. (www.sjohns.ca or www.mountpearl.ca).

There are additional safeguards being recommended including these general safety tips:
• Never use gasoline, kerosene, starter fluids or any other substance that may create a rapid build-up of fire.

• DO NOT use any of these outdoor devices inside your home.

• These units are not intended as a primary heat source.

• Properly dispose of ashes once the fire is out. Allow them to cool before disposing, otherwise, douse with plenty of water and never place them in plastic, paper, or a wooden container —metal only.

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