How to Make Your House Fire-Safe

According to the National Fire Protection Association, accidents related to cooking continue to ignite more residential fires than any other known cause, and that careless smoking continues to be the leading cause of death. Many of these fires could have been prevented with proper education, preventive measures and a little planning. Use the following simple home-related fire safety checklist to safeguard your family and home.

Smoke Detectors

  • Install at least one smoke detector on every level, near bedrooms, and in the garage.
  • Test batteries monthly and replace them annually. A good way to remember is to change batteries when you turn the clocks back in the fall.
  • Clean your smoke detector of dust and cobwebs once a month to ensure it's in proper working condition.

Safe Cooking

  • Take care to prevent grease build-up in the stove or range hood – most kitchen fires involve oil or grease.
  • Use a pan or skillet lid to smother grease fires. Never use water, as it causes ignited oil to splatter.
  • Wear fitted clothing when cooking. Long, draping sleeves can catch fire simply by brushing up against a hot burner.
  • Teach children not to play around the stove, and never leave a stove unattended.
  • Keep flammable items such as towels and curtains away from the stove.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and know how to use it.

Fire-Escape Drills

  • Plan and practice a fire escape route from every room.
  • Use rope or chain ladders from second-story windows.Teach children how to open windows and climb to safety and not to hide from firefighters.
  • Establish an outside meeting place.
  • Know how to call for emergency assistance.
  • Practice your family fire drill at least twice a year.

Using Your Escape Plan

  • Crawl low and keep your mouth covered if you must escape under smoke.
  • Feel closed doors with the back of your hand. If not hot, slowly open the door and check for smoke and fire. If hot, use another exit.
  • If your clothes ignite, stop where you are, drop, cover your face with your hands, and roll to smother flames.
  • Go to a pre-determined meeting place outside and call for help.
  • Never return to a burning building.

Safe Smoking Habits

  • Use child-resistant lighters.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.
  • Never smoke in bed.


  • Use safety plugs in electrical outlets, especially if you have small children.
  • Avoid overloading outlets and running cords under carpets and furniture.
  • Replace cords that are cracked or frayed.
  • Use proper-sized fuses in the fuse box.

Portable Heaters

  • Keep heaters at least three feet from anything flammable.
  • Turn off heaters when leaving the house or going to sleep.
  • Plug heaters directly into wall outlets.
  • Keep children and pets away from all heating appliances.

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