Before you fire up that grill this summer, here are some of the top hazards associated with decks and patios, along with the best ways to avoid them.
Between outdoor lighting, grills, and fire pits, there are a lot of potential fire hazards in a patio orbackyard area. Make sure all cords are secured and not where they can be tripped on. When it comes to a fire pit, make sure that the surrounding area is cleared of flammable items. Always douse fires completely before leaving them unattended. Make sure that you’ve checked for updates in codes and regulations regarding fires in your area. Typically, recreational fires have to be a certain number of feet away from buildings and combustible materials, cannot exceed a certain number of feet in diameter and height, and must be attended at all times.
Likewise, when barbecuing, make sure that children are not running around near the hot grill. Equipment or hot food can easily be knocked over, causing burns and other injuries. Having a fully stocked first aid kit can help with any minor wounds or can Make sure your BBQ is on sturdy ground and that you have a bucket of water and/or a hose nearby any time there is open flame.
If your deck is made of wood, make sure you keep it maintained to avoid splintering boards, wobbly rails, and rotting posts. Every year as the weather is warming up, it is good to check the quality and durability of your deck, and make any necessary structural upgrades before putting it to use. Reinforcing the deck foundation with concrete can increase the lifespan, and mean that less maintenance will be necessary in the future.
Sitting on deck railings can also be dangerous and can increase chances of collapsing while you are sitting on it. Choose structural designs that discourage sitting, so that people are less likely to lean or sit. If you are unable to choose the design of the railing, fill it in with unbreakable materials to help prevent the railing from falling. Most deck railings are recommended at 36” high, to prevent falling off the deck. Children especially should be supervised and warned to be careful when on a deck, especially near the edges.
Decks and patios are only as good as their accessories, but decorations and light furniture can be an easy target for thieves. It’s a good idea, right off the bat, to take pictures of everything that you have on your deck such as grills, decorative items, fire pits, or anything that could easily be stolen. These photos that you take give you documentation if you ever need to claim anything for insurance.
The best way to protect your belongings is to keep them out of sight, but since this can sometimes be burdensome especially if you don’t have enough storage room. Making sure that easily movable items are either secured to the ground, a post, or in a well-lit area where intruders might be afraid to go is a good way to secure your patio items. To protect your patio, you can also install cameras, motion sensor lights, or a security system to further protect your family and possessions simultaneously.
There are a lot of safety considerations to take into account when it comes to outdoor living. Your back yard should be as safe as your living room, so make sure that structures are well-maintained, fires are monitored, and your possessions are secured.