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Learn How to Safely Cozy Up to Your Outside Fire Pit

Silver Cross Hospital Offers Fire Pit Safety Tips to Avoid Harmful Injuries 

According to the National Association of Realtors, outdoor fire pits are one of the new, hot trends to lure home buyers to purchase property. However, before you gather your family and friends around these stylish campfires, be sure to learn how to safely prepare your fire to avoid any injuries.

 “Since fire pit-use is much more common around this time of year as the night temperatures begin to cool down, there is a higher concentration of fire-related injuries,” explains Dr. Heather Taras, emergency medicine physician at the Silver Cross Emergency Care Center of Homer Glen.  “People need to be mindful that they must take precautions when entertaining around a fire pit in order to avoid any accidents.”

“The upper body is where most fire pit-related injuries occur,” says Dr. Taras.  “The arms, hands, fingers, and face are most frequently injured.”

Safety Tips
Follow these tips to ensure you and your guests enjoy your fire pit safely!

1. Brush up on Local Ordinances

Before buying your fire pit, make sure you understand your city or county’s regulations regarding using them in your back yard. Some cities prohibit fire pit use completely and large fines may be imposed if you don't follow the law.

2. Become familiar with how to operate the fire pit

Read the manual that comes with your fire pit and follow the instructions. Call the manufacturer if you have any questions.

3. Find the ideal location

Position your fire pit on a level concrete or stone surface that's at least 10 feet from your house, trees, and anything flammable. Unless the owner's manual says it's okay, don't put the pit on a grassy surface, wood deck, or enclosed area, as fumes from it can be harmful without proper ventilation.

4. Utilize good fuel

Be sure to always burn dry wood that was cut at least six months earlier.  Also to keep sparks from flying, make sure logs are no longer than three-quarters of the fire pit's diameter, so burning pellets don’t spill out.

5. Safely ignite the flames

Before lighting an outdoor fire, check the weather forecast. Avoid windy conditions that can blow embers and use screens for protection from wind to prevent sparks from flying out. Then start your fire small, and only use the recommended fire starters like dry wood. Never use lighter fluid, gasoline, or kerosone to light a fire.

6. Keep children away from flames

Never leave the fire unattended. Children should not be allowed near fire pits which should be adult-supervised at all times.

7. Have a plan to snuff out the fire  

Use safety gloves when handling a hot fire pit. Keep a bucket of sand, a fire extinguisher, or a garden water hose nearby in case the fire gets too hot to handle.  

Emergency Care Nearby
Even with the utmost caution, fire pit-related injuries can still occur.  It is good to know peace of mind is just minutes away at the Silver Cross Emergency Care Center located at 143rd and Bell Rd. in Homer Glen.  Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the Center is staffed with Silver Cross Hospital’s board certified emergency medicine physicians and nurses. Patients can check wait times—if any at for both the Homer Glen Emergency Care Center as well as Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox. For more information, call (708) 364-6004.

Located in the same building is the Silver Cross Health Center offering MRI, CT, X-ray, Ultrasound, EKG and laboratory services. A physician’s order is required. To schedule an appointment for a test, call (815) 300-7076.  There are also several primary and specialty physician offices and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross. For a referral to a physician at the Homer Glen medical center, call 1-888-660-HEAL or visit

About Silver Cross Hospital
Silver Cross Hospital is a not-for-profit health care provider serving Will County and southwest suburban communities since 1895. Silver Cross has been recognized as a Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals National Award winner for seven consecutive years and as a Hospital of Choice by the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers. With over 3,000 employees, physicians and volunteers, Silver Cross operates a 289-bed acute care hospital and 9 satellite facilities providing outpatient services and physician offices. Silver Cross opened a state-of-the-art replacement hospital on February 26, 2012 at I-355 and Route 6 in New Lenox. To learn more about Silver Cross Hospital or a referral to a physician on staff, visit or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).


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Located at 1900 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox, IL 60451   Main Phone (815) 300-1100

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Physicians on Silver Cross Hospital’s Medical Staff have expertise in their areas of practice to meet the needs of patients seeking their care.  These physicians are independent practitioners on the Medical Staff and are not the agents or employees of Silver Cross Hospital. They treat patients based upon their independent medical judgment and they bill patients separately for their services.