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Summer Safety Tips

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Fire Marshal's Tips for a Safe Summer -

The City of Novi Fire Code does allow open burning under the following conditions:

Bon Fires are allowed:

  • When conducted within 30 feet of a lake.
  • When it is at least 50 feet from a structure.
  • Provided the fire must not be bigger than 3 feet wide and 3 feet high.
  • Using only seasoned, dried firewood. No trash, rubbish or yard waste may be burned.

The code will also allow a small recreational or cooking fire when contained in an outdoor fireplace. You may have a recreational fire even if you are not near a lake, provided the fire is contained in an outdoor fireplace.

With any type of authorized open burning, you must always have a means of extinguishing the fire. Have a fire extinguisher on hand, a charged garden hose, or shovels and sand. However, even if you are following the above rules, any open burning that is determined to be offensive or objectionable because of smoke or odor emissions will be ordered to be extinguished.

The Fire Code Official is authorized to issue a court appearance ticket to anyone who violates the fire code including any unauthorized or illegal open burning. Please be careful and follow the rules.

General BBQ Safety

Fire safety is an essential ingredient in any recipe that calls for cooking on an outdoor grill. In 2005, fire departments responded to an estimated 8,300 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues, according to a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) report. These fires caused an estimated $137 million in direct property damage.

The last thing anyone wants to do when grilling is to create a situation that ends with a home catching fire. Taking steps to keep grills a safe distance away from kids, pets, and combustibles like trees, shrubs, deck railings, and overhangs will help prevent home fires and injuries caused by grills.

Six out of seven home grill fires involved a gas grill and the leading contributing factor was a leak or break in hoses or other equipment. The leading factor in charcoal grill fires is combustibles too close to the open flame.

The Novi Fire Department offers the following safety tips when grilling:

  • The Fire Prevention Code prohibits the use of open flame cooking appliances (grills) on decks, patios and within ten feet of any combustible construction in multi-family dwellings, apartments and condominium buildings.
  • While this rule does not pertain to single family homes, it is still a good idea to always maintain a minimum of ten feet between the grill and the house.
  • Gas and charcoal BBQ grills must only be used outdoors. If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces, such as tents, they pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to toxic gases and potential asphyxiation.
  • Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area: declare a minimum three-foot "kid-free zone" around the grill.
  • Use long-handled grilling tools to provide plenty of clearance from heat and flames when handling the food.
  • Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.

Charcoal Grill Tips

  • Purchase the proper starter fluid and store the can out of reach of children, and away from heat sources.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited, and never use any flammable or combustible liquid other than charcoal starter fluid to get the fire going.

Gas Grill Tips

  • Check the gas cylinder hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. A light soap and water solution applied to the hose will quickly reveal escaping propane by releasing bubbles. If you determine your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame:
    • Turn off the gas tank and grill.
    • If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
    • If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the grill.
  • Use only equipment bearing the mark of an independent testing laboratory. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions on how to set up the grill and maintain it.
  • Never store propane gas cylinders in buildings or garages. If you store a gas grill inside during the winter, disconnect the cylinder and leave it outside.