Home Fire Safety Instructions

Home Fire Safety

Someone's home catches fire approximately every 45 seconds. As the seconds tick, a single spark often grows into a blazing fire, racing from room to room, damaging and destroying whatever may lie in its path. What makes the situation even worse is that fire experts believe that most home fires could be easily prevented. Most are caused by carelessness and might not occur if people would take just a few minutes to learn and practice fire prevention in their homes.

This guide outlines many basic fire prevention practices you and your family should know. It highlights important steps to follow to prevent a fire in your home, and to protect you and your belongings. To get your home into fire safety shape, walk through your home on a fire prevention inspection using this guide. Keep your home in fire safety shape with regular inspection updates.

No place is safe from fire. Let's take a few minutes now to go through your home, room by room, to put safe fire practices to work.


Never leave cooking food unattended! Also, never pour water on grease fires-- it spreads the flames. Smother the flaming pan with a lid or use a fire extinguisher. Don't try to carry the flaming pan outside, you may burn yourself or spill the grease, spreading the fire.

Turn pot handles away from the stove edge so children can't pull them down. Keep the stove, oven and hood vent free of grease and dirt buildup. Verify that all burners and ovens are turned off before leaving the area. Don't store items in the oven or on the stove top. Check the oven before turning it on.

If an appliance doesn't work properly, don't take a chance using it, have it serviced. Don't use an electric appliance if your hands or shoes are wet. Never use a fork or other piece of silverware to free a jam in a toaster. Try wooden tongs instead and unplug it first.

Don't store frequently used items over the stove. It's easy to get burned reaching over a hot stove.

Please see these links from our friends at the National Fire Protection Association as they share safety tips for cooking indoors, grilling, and even microwave use.


Smoking is the leading cause of home fire-related deaths. Make a firm rule to not allow anyone to smoke in bed. Sleep with doors closed to keep smoke and fumes out which can overcome you while you sleep. Install a smoke detector in every sleeping area and on each level of the home.

Please see the links from our friends at the National Fire Protection Association regarding smoking and the use of candles.

Living or Family Room

Allow air space around your television and other electronic equipment to prevent overheating. Always use a screen in front of a fireplace, and have your chimney checked and cleaned annually. Dispose of ashes in a metal container. Use caution when smoking tobacco products in the home.  Use space heaters with caution, provide adequate clearance around them and ensure they are plugged directly into wall outlets, not power strips or extension cords.

Please see the links from our friends at the National Fire Protection Association regarding smoke alarms, smoke alarms for hearing impaired, electrical hazards, heating equipment hazards, clothes dryers, portable space heaters, and fire hazards associated with manufactured home living.

Basement, Garage, Laundry, Shop, & Storage Rooms

Heating hazards causes the majority of home fires. Have your heating equipment checked yearly. Don't store paper, rags or flammables near heating equipment. Keep the area around heaters clear and accessible.

Don't use or store gasoline, kerosene, or other flammable liquids indoors. Store them outside in safety cans with self-closing lids.

Replace a blown-out fuse with a fuse of the correct size. Clean lint from behind the clothes dryer and from the dryer vent. Don't thaw frozen water pipes with open flames.  Keep shop areas free of soiled rags and wood shavings.  Keep oily rags in an air tight container or wash immediately after use.

Install a multipurpose (ABC) fire extinguisher in the garage and/or storage area. Teach your family how to use the extinguisher (Use P.A.S.S., Pull pin, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep).

Watch this great video to understand how to utilize the PASS method of fire extinguisher use!

Throughout Your Home

Ensure all know how to reach emergency services by dialing 911 and children know the address to the home.  Keep matches and lighters in a place where children can't reach them. Watch children for signs of pyromania (fascination with fire).

Electrical Precautions

Make sure all electrical appliances and cords bear the seal of approval of the Underwriters Laboratories (UL).  Don't overload outlets, too many plugs in an outlet can generate heat and start a fire in the equipment, wiring or wall. If you need more outlets, have an electrician install them.

Don't let electrical cords get wet, and don't leave them where people can trip over them. It's also dangerous to put electrical cords under carpets where they can become unknowingly damaged.  When damaged wiring or equipment is observed, have it professionally repaired or replaced.

Never use a 2-prong extension cord with a 3-prong plug. Use outlet covers to keep children from putting their fingers or other objects in an outlet. Unplug appliances when not in use or when you're on vacation.

Home Escape Plan

Create, implement, and practice a home escape plan that includes:

  • A meeting place outside (tree, mailbox, neighbor's yard)
  • Crawling low under smoke
  • Two exits from every room

Make sure children and the elderly recognize the sound of a smoke alarm and know to "Get Out and Stay Out". Make sure all family members know how to dial 911 in an emergency (State your name, location, and type of emergency).

Make sure all family members know to stop, drop, and roll if their clothes catch on fire.

Home Fire Safety Inspection Form

Please print the Safety Check List (PDF) to perform a Fire Safety Inspection for your home.