Avoid These Potential Outdoor Heating Dangers This Winter

Here are some important tips on how to safely use fire pits and heaters to stay warm outdoors this winter.

With people spending more time outdoors to slow the spread of COVID-19, one of the fastest sellers around are fire pits, but they can be dangerous if not used properly. Here are some tips to help keep you safe this winter.

First, it's important where you place a fire pit. Avoid putting it on a wooden deck and keep children and pets away, Nassau County Assistant Chief Fire Marshal Michael Uttaro told Inside Edition. Also, watch out for hot embers blowing around. 

Make sure to keep the fire pit at least 10 feet away from any structure and don't put it underneath anything flammable, including tree branches. 

Lots of restaurants are using propane heaters to keep diners warm, and many homeowners are also buying them to enjoy a meal outdoors. One setup at the Milleridge Inn in Jericho, New York, is ideal — open air and nothing too close to it.

You should keep the heater five feet away from anything that could burn, in accordance with the fire code, Uttaro said. If you’re in a tent, Uttaro says an electrical heater is safer, but you still need to use caution.

"If anything comes in contact with it that could burn — plastics, draperies, decorations —that could pose a hazard," Uttaro said.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 3,000 people have been burned or injured by fire pits in the past year.