Fire Safety Tips
Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and injuries. Cooking equipment—mostly the kitchen stovetop—is involved in more than one-third (38%) of the reported home fires and fire injuries each year.
The typical cooking fire occurs when cooking is left unattended.
Cooking Safety Tips:
- Pay attention to your cooking. Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food.
- If you must leave the room for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- When you are simmering, boiling, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, stay in the home, and use a timer to remind you.
- If you have young children, use the stove’s back burners whenever possible.
- Keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from the stove.
- When you cook, wear clothing with tight-fitting or short sleeves.
- Allow food cooked in a microwave oven to cool for a minute or more before you remove it from the oven; remember to use an oven mitt.
- Open microwaved food slowly. Hot steam escaping from the container can cause painful burns.
Smoking is a leading cause of fire deaths. Smoking materials (cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc.) are a leading cause of fire deaths in the United States, with roughly 700-900 deaths per year. The most common items first ignited in home smoking fire deaths are upholstered furniture and mattresses or betting.
Smoking Safety Tips:
- Designate a smoking area outside the home.
- Provide smokers with deep, sturdy ashtrays.
- Keep smoking materials away from anything that can burn, like mattresses, bedding, and upholstered furniture.
Heating is a leading cause of home fire deaths. Almost half (44%) of home heating equipment fires were reported during the months of December, January, and February.
Heating Safety Tips:
- Keep space heaters at least 3 feet from people and from anything that can burn, such as curtains and bedding.
- Turn space heaters off when you go to bed or leave the room.
- Have heating equipment professionally inspected and serviced every year.
- Have your chimneys cleaned and inspected before each heating season.
On average, electrical distribution and lighting equipment is involved in 20,800 home structure fires per year, averaging 330 fire deaths. Electrical distribution and lighting equipment includes fixed wiring; transformers, meters or meter boxes; power switch gear; switches, receptacles and outlets; cords and plugs; and lighting equipment.
Electrical Safety Tips:
- Replace or repair loose or frayed cords on all electrical devices.
- Avoid overloading receptacles.
- Plug only one high-wattage appliance at a time into a receptacle outlet.
- Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets.
- Install arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) to protect electrical outlets. AFCIs protect against fire by continuously monitoring the electrical current in a circuit and shutting off the circuit when unintended arcing occurs.
- Install ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) electrical outlets in kitchens, bathrooms, outdoor areas, basements, and garages. GFCIs greatly reduce the risk of shock by shutting off an electrical circuit when the circuit could be a shock hazard.
You can protect yourself and your home from the major causes of home fires by taking some basic precautions. Check each room in your home for these common hazards and learn to spot situation that may create a fire risk.
Throughout Your Home:
- Are portable space heaters placed at least 3 feet from anything that can burn?
- Are matches and lighters kept in a locked cabinet where children cannot reach them?
- Has your wiring been inspected to make sure that it meets code requirements?
- Are your electrical cords in good condition, not frayed or cracked?
- Do you have a smoke alarm in each bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of your home?
- Are your smoke alarms interconnected so that when one sounds they all sound?
- Do you test your smoke alarms once a month?
- Does your family practice your home fire escape plan twice a year?
- Does your home have an automatic sprinkler system, which will contain a fire?
- Does your home have carbon monoxide alarms?
- Is your stove top clean and free from clutter?
- Do you stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food?
Living Room/Family Room:
- Do you have a sturdy metal fireplace screen?
- Do you have your chimney cleaned and inspected at the beginning of each heating season?
- Do you encourage smokers to smoke outside the home?
- Do you have arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs)?
- Do you burn candles in your bedroom? NFPA discourages the use of candles in bedrooms—the largest number of candle fires occur in bedrooms.
- Do you have your heating equipment cleaned and inspected by a professional each year?