I love the summertime. To me, nothing’s better than having my kids and grandkids over for a swim in the pool - following it up with a barbecue. Believe me, nothing beats being the grandpa with a pool. I’ve always taken the time to explain to my grandkids how we stay safe when on my deck and near my pool. But I’ve also taken a lot of time to make sure my outdoor spaces are safe for them - including making sure my deck is fire safe. I want everyone to have a safe and happy summer - so if you’re going to be entertaining on your deck this year, here are a few safety precautions to take to protect your guests and your deck.
There are some necessary safety precautions to take to ensure every summer party is safe, and most importantly, fun.
Check your electrical wires and cords - both inside and outside- regularly. At minimum, you want to check these at least once a year. Are your outdoor outlets GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) protected? They better be. GFCI outlets monitors the current of electricity flowing through the circuits. If it detects an imbalance, it trips the circuit - cutting off the electricity, and reducing the risk of an electrical fire.
Don’t overload your outdoor circuits with too many electrical appliances, and keep cords away from high traffic areas. Any extension cords that you’re running outside better be marked for outdoor use and not frayed or damaged.
Hosting a Barbecue
I love hosting BBQs during the summer months. Jr and I even have competing steak marinades (I still think mine’s the best). Make sure you’ve set your grill a few feet away from the house. Keep it out of high traffic areas, and spots on your deck that have branches over top.
Keep the deck surface clean of leaves and other debris. All it takes is one errant spark to light up. You never know when a glowing coal could fall, igniting whatever combustible material is nearby. On that note - always keep a close, watchful eye on your barbecue. If you’re cooking, you’re looking. Never leave an active barbecue unattended.
And just in case, have a fire extinguisher nearby in case something does light up and the flames get out of hand. Never use water because that can actually spread the flames.
Entertaining can often go on well after the sun goes down. Make sure you’ve properly lit your outdoor space. Always choose safety over aesthetics when it comes to outdoor lighting. I like using solar-powered LED floodlights from Eaton. There is no wiring required so they are perfect for decks. They are also portable so I can use them during a power failure or during a camping trip.
If you’re upgrading your outdoor space and need to update the electrical - always call in a licensed electrical contractor. Yes - even for smaller jobs, like installing outdoor light fixtures. Electrical work is not a DIY project - and it’s something I don’t mess with on my own. A professional can make sure it’s safe.
Before hosting that first party this season, make sure your space is ready for guests - and that means making it safe. Happy grilling!
About the Author
Mike Holmes, professional contractor and TV host, is working with Associa to refine the standards and protocols that today’s Homeowner’s Associations use to Make It Right™ for their homeowners. He brings more than 35 years of experience in renovations, construction, and inspection services, and is best known as the contractor and host of “Holmes on Homes” and “Holmes Makes It Right” where he rescues homeowners from repair and renovation disasters.More Content by Mike Holmes