Prevent Home Fires

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Prevent Fires Before They Start!

  • Install smoke detectors on every level of the home in rooms, stair landings, and passageways. Test them monthly. Change batteries twice a year.
  • Put out cigarettes in an ashtray. Never throw them in the trash. Make sure they are completely out.
  • Keep all lighters and matches in locked or high cabinets away from children.
  • Use light bulbs with the correct wattage for the fixture.
  • Replace all frayed, cracked or broken electrical cords.
  • Use outlets safely. Don't plug too many large appliances into one outlet, overload an extension cord, or plug more than one extension cord into an outlet.
  • Make sure there are two escape routes from every room, including basement bedrooms.
  • Store and use all cleaning products and aerosol cans away from heat.
  • Do not use electrical appliances or tools when you or the cord is in or near water.


  • Keep the stovetop and oven clean to avoid grease fires.
  • Remove towels, potholders, plastic bags, newspapers and other flammable materials around the stovetop.
  • Replace or have a professional fix any appliance with frayed or loose cords or wires, or cords that get hot while appliance is in use.
  • Do not use or store appliances and cords near water where they can get wet.
  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stovetop.
  • Use only microwave-safe dishes in the microwave.
  • Wear tight-fitting sleeves or roll them up when cooking.
  • Unplug appliances when not in use.

Living Room

  • Clean wood or coal stoves and fireplace chimneys before each heating season.
  • Burn only dry, seasoned wood in the fireplace or wood stove to reduce the build up of creosote - which is flammable - in the chimney.
  • Close the screen or heat-tempered glass door when the fireplace is in use to prevent sparks from igniting furniture, draperies or other items.
  • Avoid running cords or wires under rugs and carpets or near a heat source where they can overheat. Don't run them across doorways where they can become worn.
  • Stack newspapers, wood, matches and other items that might catch fire away from fireplace or wood or coal stove.
  • Install approved stove board under wood and coal stoves and place these stoves at least 3 feet away form any wall. Follow local building and fire codes.
  • If you smoke use large, clean, deep ashtrays that will not tip over. Douse ashtrays with water before emptying to put out embers.


  • Run appliance cords away from sink or tub where they can get wet.
  • Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI's) in all bathroom, kitchen, and other rooms with water or moisture. These shut off the current when there is a danger of shock.
  • Use hair dryers and curling irons away from items that might burn. Disconnect after use. Don't fold or crimp cords when storing.


  • Install a smoke detector in the hallway near each bedroom. Sleep with bedroom doors closed.
  • Never smoke cigarettes in bed or any time you are sleepy.
  • Use a heating pad for no more than 30 minutes. Unplug when finished.
  • Unplug your electric blanket when not in use and store flat. Never fold or roll it.

Basement/Utility Room

  • Have your furnace checked before each heating season to be sure it is in proper working condition.
  • Change furnace filters frequently.
  • If you use the basement as a bedroom, make sure windows are large enough to crawl through in case of fire.
  • Do not store anything that could catch fire near the furnace.
  • Become familiar with your main electric panel. Check for proper wiring and fuses.
  • Clean lint from dryer screen before each use. Plug dryer into a separate outlet and vent to the outside. Keep the area clear.
  • Follow manufacturers' recommended time for drying synthetic fabrics, rubber, plastics, or foam.


  • Use proper gauge extension cord with any power tool or high-wattage equipment.
  • Store gasoline in approved, tightly sealed containers and use only as a motor fuel.
  • Keep paints and other flammable liquids and chemicals in their original, labeled containers with tight-fitting lids.
  • Use and store flammables (pesticides, fertilizers, paint, gasoline, etc.) away from any source of heat or flame. Never smoke near flammable liquids.
  • Dispose of oil-soaked rags after use or store in a tightly-closed metal container. Never burn them or throw them in trash that will be burned.
  • Place unused charcoal in a metal container with a tight-fitting lid in a cool, dry place. Damp charcoal can ignite itself.
  • Use cordless tools when working around water or on grounded components such as plumbing and heating systems.