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Greg discusses best practices for fire pits in this episode of Ask The Expert. 800 CHAB radio presents Ask the Expert with Greg Marcyniuk of Heritage Insurance located in Moose Jaw.

Here's a full transcript of the episode.

Rob Carnie: We're with Greg Marcyniuk today from Heritage Insurance. And Greg, it's fire pit season. And it seems to me more and more people have fire pits in their yards within city limits. And that's okay as long they meet specifications and they follow city bylaws. And there's also some safety issues. And we want to remind people of some of them today.

Greg Marcyniuk: That's right Rob. And, you know, it's quite dry right now, so you really have to be extra careful with it.

So, first of all, when you do buy a fire pit, make sure that it does comply within the city bylaws. Also, take some time, read about the fire pit itself. And the biggest thing I would say is always having an operational fire extinguisher handy in the event something does happen. And make sure it's in good working condition, and that it's not too close to the expiration date.

The other thing is, don't ever place a fire pit in enclosed areas. Fumes could just be harmful without proper ventilation. And never, never place your fire pit on a wood deck, or near structures, hanging branches, or unsteady surfaces. I know, over the past few years, we have had some total loss fires because of improper use of fire pits.

Now, when you are operating your fire pit, make sure you start with a fire that's small and use recommended fire starters only. Never use gasoline starting a fire. We just actually — out at the lake on the last weekend, a young fellow did get burnt pretty bad because he was using gasoline. So that's just not a good idea. And, as well, never leave a fire unsupervised. As well, use a screen for protection from wind to prevent sparks from flying out. Again, just common sense, if it's windy out, just don't bother having a fire.

Now, when you are extinguishing the fire, make sure to extinguish the fire completely, once you finished using it. And follow, again, the manufacturer's instructions. Use a fire extinguisher if you want or use water. That's typically what we do. And make sure that you put water on it until it completely stops steaming, and then cover it with a lid. Let it cool down, and never store those in a bag. Use a metal ash bucket instead. So those are just some very common sense things to do with a fire pit.

The other thing is, as far as within the city of Moose Jaw, you want to make sure that there is a chimney of two feet on there, that there is spark arrestors of a minimum of a quarter inch. And all wood-fire-burning appliances must have a door or a screen on that. And, as well, you have to be at least 10 feet from any combustible material such as fences, houses, garages, which is pretty normal. As well, they have to be UL, ULC, and Warnock Hersey approved, and they have to be maintained in an original operating condition.

So, again, just a few tips. Keep an eye on it.

Rob: And what about insurance when it comes to having fire pits in the back yard?

Greg: You have to follow the bylaws. So, again, you want to make sure that you check with the city bylaws and that you are following the recommendations, because there may not be coverage if you don't follow the proper procedures.

Rob: And we should probably point out that not every fire pit that's on sale meets the specifications from the City of Moose Jaw, right?

Greg: That's right. And you could just check with City Hall. You can go online, just find out about it, and they'll tell you whether or not it'll be fine. 

Rob: Greg Marcyniuk at Heritage Insurance. We can find these tips and all sorts of others on your website.

Greg: That's correct, heritageinsurance.ca or come on down and talk to any of us at any time, corner of Fairford and 1st Avenue Northwest.

(Video transcription by Speechpad)

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Heritage Insurance Ltd Office
Heritage Insurance, Ltd.
100A Fairford Street West
Moose Jaw, SK S6H 1V3

Office Hours:
Mon - Fri 8:30AM - 6:00PM
Sat 9:00AM - 4:00PM Sask Motor License Issuing only


Phone: (306) 693-7640
Toll Free: (800) 667-7640



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