Many house fires are preventable. Learn more about steps you can take to greatly reduce your risk for a house fire.
Cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S. It is also the leading cause of fire injuries.
- Never leave your stove, oven, toaster or microwave unattended. Keep an eye on what you fry.
- Always wear short, tight-fitting sleeves when cooking.
- Keep towels, pot holders and curtains away from flames and heating elements.
- Clean cooking surfaces regularly to prevent grease buildup which can ignite.
- If a fire breaks out while cooking, put a lid on the pan to smother it.
- Never throw water on a grease fire.
- Heat oil gradually to avoid burns from spattering grease.
- Use extra caution when preparing deep-fried foods.
- Never use the oven to heat your home.
- Double-check the kitchen before you go to bed or leave the house. Make sure all small appliances are turned off.
- Never use gasoline, benzine, naptha, or similar flammable liquids indoors.
- Store flammable liquids in approved containers in well-ventilated storage areas.
- Never smoke near flammable liquids.
- Discard all rags or materials that have been soaked in flammable liquids after you have used them. Safely discard them outdoors in a metal container.
- Insulate chimneys and place spark arresters on top. The chimney should be at least three feet higher than the roof. Remove branches hanging above and around the chimney.
- Be careful when using alternative heating sources.
- Check with your local fire department on the legality of using kerosene heaters in your community. Be sure to fill kerosene heaters outside, and be sure they have cooled.
- Place heaters at least three feet away from flammable materials.
- Use only the type of fuel designated for your unit and follow manufacturer’s instructions.
- Store ashes in a metal container outside and away from your residence.
- Keep open flames away from walls, furniture, drapery and flammable items.
- Keep a screen in front of the fireplace.
- Have heating units inspected and cleaned annually by a certified specialist.
Matches and Smoking
- Keep matches and lighters up high, away from children, and, if possible, in a locked cabinet.
- Never smoke in bed or when drowsy or medicated.
- Provide smokers with deep, sturdy ashtrays.
- Douse cigarette and cigar butts with water before disposal.
- Have the electrical wiring in your residence checked by an electrician.
- Inspect extension cords for frayed or exposed wires or loose plugs.
- Make sure outlets have cover plates and no exposed wiring.
- Make sure wiring does not run under rugs, over nails, or across high-traffic areas.
- Do not overload extension cords or outlets.
- Make sure insulation does not touch bare electrical wiring.
Have you done all you can to prevent a house fire? Download this checklist from Fire is Everyone’s Fight to find out.