Fire prevention

To prevent accidental fires:

  • Lock up matches and lighters. Store matches and lighters in a locked cabinet or drawer. Teach children that matches and lighters aren't toys.
  • Be careful with candles. Keep burning candles out of reach of children, and extinguish candles before leaving the room.
  • Take care with cigarettes. Don't smoke in the house — especially in bed. Use large, deep ashtrays. Empty them frequently and douse with water before disposing ashes and cigarettes.
  • Use space heaters wisely. Keep space heaters at least 3 feet (about 1 meter) away from bedding, drapes, furniture and other flammable materials. Never leave a space heater on when you go to sleep or place a space heater near someone who's sleeping.
  • Keep your fireplace clean. An annual cleaning and inspection of a fireplace and chimney can help prevent a chimney fire.
  • Store flammable materials. Store flammable liquids in original containers, out of reach of children and away from open flames such as pilot lights or grills.

Fire emergency plan

To prevent injury if a fire occurs:

  • Install fire alarms. Install at least one fire alarm on each floor of your home and near any bedrooms. Keep the alarms clean and test them monthly. Use long-life batteries and change them at least once a year. Replace smoke alarms every 10 years or after the expiration date marked on the device.
  • Learn to use a fire extinguisher. Keep a working fire extinguisher in your kitchen and learn how to use it properly. Store it on a wall out of reach of children and near a door, so that you can exit away from a fire if necessary.
  • Teach children to stop, drop and roll. Teach children what to do if their clothes catch fire. Stop immediately and do not run; drop to the floor and cover the face with hands; and roll on the floor to put out flames.
  • Practice an evacuation plan. Create and practice an evacuation plan with your children. Determine two ways to exit any room in a house. Don't use lockable doorknobs on a child's bedroom. Teach your children to leave a burning building by crawling under the smoke. Determine a meeting place outside, preferably in the front of a house where firefighters can easily find you. If you live in an apartment building, practice using posted emergency exit routes with your children.
Feb. 25, 2017 See more In-depth