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Outdoor entertaining


Summer outdoor parties are some of the best events of the year.

The warm balmy nights, food cooking on the grill, and friends and family spending quality time together in the backyard or around the pool create wonderful memories that last a lifetime. But, hosting outdoor events also means there’s an increased risk of home fires.

Fortunately, following some simple safety tips and guidelines can help ensure you and your guests stay safe. Consider the following when you host your next outdoor event: 

  • Have an adult present at all times when a portable fireplace is burning
  • Use sturdy candle holders that won’t tip over easily
  • Keep anything that can burn, as well as children and pets, at least three feet away from open flames
  • Use battery-operated flameless candles and solar-powered patio (tiki) torches in place of an open flame. Flameless candles come in all colors, shapes and sizes, and many are scented. Flameless candles look and feel like the real ones, and add a beautiful soft glow to any outdoor event.
MSNEW! NFPA is now a regular content contributor for Martha Stewart Living! Check out our latest outdoor entertaining blog post on her website.

Outdoor entertaining by the numbers

  • Outside fireplaces or fire pits caused nearly 3,700 grass and brush fires
  • Total outdoor patio heater or fire pit injuries has nearly tripled in six years (1,330 to 3,608) from 2006 – 2012
  • More than half of all candle fires start when things that can burn are too close to the candle
  • An average of 8,800 home fires involved grills, hibachis, or barbecues each year
  • In 2012, sparklers, fountains and novelties accounted for 25% of emergency room fireworks-related injuries*

Source: NFPA’s Fire Analysis & Research Division

*Source: Fireworks Annual Report, Consumer Product Safety Commission, 2012

More outdoor entertaining information

Tip sheets for outdoor entertaining
NFPA has several safety tip sheets related to outdoor entertaining that you can download for free, including: candles, fireworks, gel fuel safety, grilling, lightning, outdoor electrical safety, portable fireplaces and sky lanterns.