Fire Prevention In Your Home

It is important that all homeowners and their families are aware of the dangers of fire and the damage they can cause. A fatality occurs every 134 seconds as a result of a house fire; accounting for thousands of deaths each year.

Understanding how to protect yourself and your family from fire related accidents and injuries is essential; the following fire safety tips are designed to help you be prepared, should a fire occur.

Smoke Detectors

  • Smoke detectors should be installed on each level of your home and in high traffic areas, such has the kitchen and bedrooms.
  • It is strongly recommended that you test the smoke detectors in your home once a month. The instructions for testing your specific model of smoke detector will be in the user manual.
  • The batteries in a smoke detector should be replaced at least once a year. If the batteries need to be replaced, the detector will chirp until they are replaced.
  • Make sure your smoke detector is clean, dust and particles can clog and interfere with the sensors.
  • There are smoke detectors to fit every family situation and live style, including models made for the hearing impaired. Compare a few different models before choosing the one that is right for your home.

Fire Extinguishers

  • It is best to have several fire extinguishers throughout the home, including the following locations: the garage, kitchen, laundry room, and workshop.
  • There are different types of fie extinguishers; the ABC fire extinguisher, however, is most recommended for the most, because it will work for all types of fires, including grease fires.
  • It is important to learn the proper way to use a fire extinguisher; this will help you to be better prepared should a fire start; you won’t have time to learn on the fly or read the manual. It is best to be prepared before an emergency happens.
  • Fire extinguishers are designed to put out small fires; if the fire has grown bigger, get to a safe location and call 9-1-1 to be connected to your local fire department for assistance.

Thinking Ahead: Your Exit Plan

  • Have an exit strategy planned for each floor of your house; it is safest to have more than one exit point for each room.
  • Discuss a fie safety plan with each member of your household and set up a practice drill to make sure everyone knows what to do during a fire.
  • Set up a single meeting location, should household members get split up when exiting the residents during a fire.
  • Closing the doors when a room is not in use or when you are sleeping, may help to prevent the fire spreading as quickly from room to room.
  • If there is a fire, touch the door before opening it to gauge the heat and presence of fire one the other side.
  • Keep hallways and high traffic areas free of clutter to avoid any accidents in the event that you need to leave the area in a fire.


  • Always keep your fireplace clean and free of debris and build up.
  • Clear your fireplace of flammable materials; such as paper, kindling and matches. Store these in a safe place, away from open flames.
  • Have your fireplace professionally inspected annually, preferably before the cold weather sets in and the fireplace is being used regularly.
  • When starting a gas fireplace, light the match first, then turn on the gas. Starting the gas prior to lighting the match may cause the fire to ignite and spread quickly.

Furnace/Space Heaters

  • Have your heater or furnace professionally installed and inspected to make sure it is done correctly. Heating units that are installed incorrectly may increase the chances of a fire.
  • Do not store combustible materials near a furnace or heater, including paper products, cardboard or cloth.
  • Space heaters should have a minimum of three feet of space around them and should be kept away from the walls.
  • When not in the room, make sure all space heaters are turned off.
  • Gas ranges are never to be used as a substitute for a furnace or space heater.

Clothes Dryer

  • It may be tempting, but do not run the clothes dryer when not at home. As with other appliances, it should be monitored.
  • Always clean the lint traps of the dryer after each use; this will help to prevent build up and reduce the odds of a dryer fire ignited by the lint fibers.
  • Rubber, synthetics, plastic and foam do not belong in the dryer; they retain heat and may cause the appliance to overheat and ignite.

Electrical Hazards

  • Avoid using extension cords whenever possible.
  • If extension cords are necessary; do not run them under rugs or wrap them up.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets.
  • Always use light bulbs that are appropriate for the lamp; using bulbs that exceed the recommended wattage is dangerous. The recommended wattage will be listed on the lamp.
  • Be aware of signs of overloaded electrical outlets; included dimming, flickering, slowing or popping.


  • Fire extinguishers kept in the kitchen should be kept at least ten feet from the stove, closer to the exit.
  • Never put water on a grease fire; cover the pan with a lid, if possible, or close the oven door to slow the fire’s spread.
  • Maintain kitchen appliances and dispose of those that are unsafe or do not work properly. To prevent accidents, unplug appliances when they are not being used.
  • Keep all cooking surfaces clean and free of debris; do not store items on the stove or in the oven.
  • Clean the exhaust fan over the stove regularly.
  • When cooking, make sure that all pots and pans are out of the reach of children; turn pan handles inward.
  • Carelessness in the kitchen in the leading cause of residential fires; do not leave food unattended.

Children and Grandchildren

  • Keep matches, lighters and other ignition out of the reach of children; store them in high cabinets or locked drawers when possible.
  • Do not leave space heaters unattended around children and make them aware of the dangers of playing around heaters and hot surfaces.
  • Teach children proper fire safety; show them how to stay safe and what to avoid. Firefighters are often trained in fire prevention education.
  • 25% of all fire related deaths involving a child are started by children. Educate children to avoid accidents or injury.

Gasoline and Other Flammable Liquids

  • Store flammable liquids outside of the home, such as a storage shed or garage, in approved containers.
  • Do not pour gasoline in enclosed spaces. Gas up lawn and snow blowers in a well ventilated area, away from heating elements.
  • Always clean up spilled flammable liquid and be aware of residue on the floor.
  • Flammable liquids come in many forms; always read labels and be aware of unsuspected flammable ingredients.


  • Never smoke when overly tired or intoxicated; one may become careless and fall asleep with their cigarette still lit.
  • Smoking in bed is dangerous and should be avoided; not only does it make your bedding smell, but bedding is highly flammable.
  • Always use ashtrays and empty them after use.
  • When disposing of cigarettes or ashtray contents, wet the ashes and butts to avoid accidental fires.

Fire Prevention Resources