Prevent Home Fires

Home fires can be preventable. The following are simple steps each of us can take to prevent a tragedy.


  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling food. Turn off the stove if you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time. 
  • Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. 
  • Position barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from siding and check railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. 
  • Keep a fire extinguisher available. 

Electrical and Appliance Safety

  • Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately and do not run cords under rugs or furniture. 
  • If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord. 
  • Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to touch and lights that flicker.  

Holiday Safety

  • Turn off holiday lights at night or when you leave the house. 
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. 
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from flammable materials or consider using flameless candles. 
  • Water your Christmas tree daily and do not let it dry out. A dry tree is more flammable. 
  • Make sure your tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights, and not blocking an exit. 
  • Do not overload extension cords and outlets. 

Fireplaces and Woodstoves

  • Inspect and clean woodstove pipes and chimneys annually and check monthly for damage or obstructions.
  • Use a fireplace screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks. 
  • Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed. 

Portable Space Heaters

  • Keep combustible objects at least three feet away from portable heating devices.
  • Only buy heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • Check to make sure the portable heater has a thermostat control mechanism and will switch off automatically if the heater falls. 
  • Only use crystal clear K-1 kerosene in kerosene heaters. Never overfill it. Use the heater in a well-ventilated room away from curtains and other flammable items. 

Keeping Children Safe

  • Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching children that fire is a tool, not a toy. 
  • Store matches and lighters out of children's reach and sight, preferably in a locked cabinet. 
  • Never leave children unattended near operating stoves, or burning candles, even for a short time.  

More Fire Prevention Tips

  • Never use a stove range or oven to heat your home. 
  • Keep combustible and flammable liquids away from heat sources. 
  • Portable generators should NEVER be used indoors and should only be refueled outdoors and in well ventilated areas.
Smoke alarm for website

Smoke Alarms

A working smoke alarm significantly increases your chances of surviving a deadly home fire. 

  • Replace batteries twice a year, unless you are using 10-year lithium batteries. 
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement.
  • Replace the entire smoke alarm unit every 10 years or according to the manufacturer's instructions. 
  • Never disable a smoke alarm while cooking - it can be a deadly mistake. 
  • Audible alarms are available for visually impaired people and smoke alarms with a vibrating pad or flashing light are available for the hearing impaired.