Backyard Fire Safety and Tips – South Carolina

Did you know that South Carolina has one of the nation’s highest numbers of wildfires annually? According to the South Carolina Forestry Commission, 3,000 wildfires per year threaten homes in our state. Backyard Fire Safety is important. Read on for fire safety tips and relevant insurance advice.

According to the Forestry Commission, March is the most likely time for a fire, and the largest fires, in terms of damage, take place in April.  Vegetation is dead, humidity is low, the sun is hot, and the wind is picking up. These are perfect conditions for a fire to get out of control.

Because of these statistics, backyard fire safety is of extreme importance.

Real-Life Example:

In March 2016, a customer here at Livingston Insurance had a fire that he thought he extinguished properly in his backyard fire pit in Lexington, SC, but after 28 hours, it re-ignited! The fire quickly spread and got out of control and threatened three of his neighbors’ homes. Here are some pictures!

Lexington County Fire Fighters at Work  - Backyard Fire Safety

Lexington County Fire Fighters at Work

Lexington County Fire Fighters at Work  - Backyard Fire Safety

Protecting the valuable swing set!

Insurance:

“It’s really important that people understand that any time you create fire outside of your house, you’re responsible for the fire from the time you light it until the time it goes out. Permanently.” – Lexington County, South Carolina Fire Services Chief

In our customer’s example, a standard $100,000 or $300,000 personal liability limit would not have been enough to cover the potential damage he was liable for. He was glad he had his umbrella policy in place.

In summary, your basic homeowners insurance may not have adequate limits to help in this situation! An umbrella policy provides an extra layer of liability insurance that will protect you in situations like this.  And they are relatively inexpensive – on average , they cost $150 annually for a $1 million limit.

Backyard Fire Pit Safety Tips:

In light of our customer’s backyard fire, here are some safety tips for you and your family:

  • Clear the area of debris. Our customer found this out the hard way. Any flammable objects near the area will easily burst into flames.
  • Properly extinguish. Use water and sand. Hold your hand over the area to make sure you feel no heat.
  • Check wind direction before lighting the fire. Wind can easily carry an ember 100 yards from your fire pit.
  • Avoid using soft woods like pine or cedar because they can throw sparks and embers.
  • Keep a bucket of water next to the fire so you can easily extinguish it when the fun is over!
  • Call 9-1-1 as soon as the fire gets out of control. There is little time before the fire explodes onto others’ properties.
  • Make sure to check with your local fire services department for additional tips and regulations.

Here is the link to Lexington County’s Fire Services:

http://www.lex-co.sc.gov/departments/DeptIQ/publicsafety/fireservices/Pages/AfterAFire.aspx

Here is the Columbia, SC and Richland County Fire Department’s website:

http://columbiarichlandfire.net/

More great information about forest fires can be found at the South Carolina Forestry Commission’s website: http://www.state.sc.us/forest/refwild.htm

Stay safe out there!

 

About Joe Popkowski