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Fire Prevention & Safety

Fire Prevention Safety smoke detector

As the weather starts to cool down and the fall/winter holidays approach, we’re turning off air conditioners and starting to think about turning on heaters, whether that is the home heating unit, some sort of portable device or a wood-burning or gas fireplace.

All of these things (and more) can lead to fires in the home if not properly installed, maintained, and operated. Implementing a few fire prevention safety measures in your home could save lives and keep you and your family from suffering first to third-degree burns and more.


Fire Prevention Safety Tips

According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires, fire deaths, and fire injuries. They provide the following list, which you can use as a fire prevention and home safety checklist.

  • Make sure all heating equipment is properly installed and vented.
  • Make sure you have a working smoke alarm.
  • Keep anything that can burn (such as paper or wood) three feet away from all heating units.
  • Have chimneys and vents cleaned and inspected by a professional.
  • Only use the recommended fuel.
  • Dispose of ash properly. Scoop cooled ashes into a metal container and store it away from your home.
  • Make sure that you have a spark screen in front of the fireplace.
  • Make sure that you have a properly installed chimney cap.
  • Make sure that tree limbs are 10 feet away and never overhang the chimney. Keep leaves and pine needles off the roof.

Fire Prevention Safety Tip Sheets

  • Causes
  • Escape Planning
  • Fire and Safety Equipment
  • Household Equipment, Seasonal and More

Don’t Wait. Check the Date – Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that:

  • One quarter of home fire deaths are due to fires that start in the bedroom.
  • Three out of five home fire deaths are due to fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.

Smoke alarms are a critical part of fire prevention and safety in the home giving you an early warning so you and your family can get outside quickly.

In 2015, the key message was “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep. Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm.” For 2016’s Fire Prevention Safety Week, sponsored by the NFPA, the key message is still focused on smoke alarms.

  • Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.
  • To find out how old a smoke alarm is, look at the date of manufacture on the back of the alarm; the alarm should be replaced 10 years from that date.

Be sure to install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your home, including the basement.

Related Fire Prevention Articles


Alarming Statistics from the NFPA

  • Home fires killed an average of eight people every day in 2013.
  • In 2013, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 369,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 2,755 deaths, 12,200 civilian injuries, and $7.0 billion in direct damage.
  • Electrical failure or malfunctions caused an average of 47,800 home fires per year in 2007-2011, resulting in an average of 450 deaths and $1.5 billion in direct property damage.
  • About half (48%) of home electrical fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment. Other leading types of equipment were washer or dryer, fan, portable or stationery space heart, air conditioning equipment, water heater, and range.

Treating Burn Injuries

No matter the fire safety precautions you put in place, there is always the potential of someone suffering a burn injury. First-degree burns can be extremely painful and third degree can be life threatening. If you or a family member suffers a burn whether from a fire or other hot appliances, you need to seek medical attention immediately.


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Some content has been reproduced from NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week website, www.firepreventionweek.org. © 2015 NFPA.