1. Install Smoke Detectors

WORKING SMOKE DETECTORS can alert you to a fire in your home in time for you to escape, even if you are sleeping. Install smoke detectors on every level of your home, including the basement, and outside each sleeping area. If you sleep with the door closed, install one inside your sleeping area as well.

Test detectors every month, following the manufacturer's directions, and replace batteries once a year, or whenever a detector "chirps" to signal low battery power. Never "borrow" a smoke detector's battery for another use - a disabled detector can't save your life. Replace detectors that are more than 10 years old.

2. Plan Your Escape From Fire

Escape Route MapIF A FIRE BREAKS OUT in your home, you have to get out fast. Get Out, Stay Out. NEVER return to a burning building to retrieve a family member or personal contents. Do not call 911 from inside the home. It is better to get out first and place the call from a neighbors house or somewhere else. Prepare for a fire emergency by sitting down with your family and agreeing on an escape plan. Be sure that everyone knows at least two unobstructed exits - doors and windows - from every room. (If you live in an apartment building, do not include elevators in your escape plan.) Check all doors and windows to be sure that they are operational, and easy to open. Decide on a meeting place outside where everyone will meet after they escape. Have your entire household practice your escape plan at least twice a year. 

  1. Prepare a floor plan of your home. The plan should show at least two ways out of each room (usually the door and a window)
  2. Sleep with your bedroom door closed. It will help keep heat and smoke out.
  3. Agree on a meeting place that everyone is familiar with (a tree, telephone pole, fire hydrant etc.).
  4. Make sure no one goes back inside. GET OUT and STAY OUT.
  5. Practice - Practice makes perfect.

3. Keep An Eye On Smokers

Smoker lighting upCareless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in North America. Smoking in bed or when you are drowsy could be deadly.Provide smokers with large, deep non-tip ashtrays and soak butts with water before discarding them. Before going to bed or leaving home after someone has been smoking, check under and around cushions and upholstered furniture for smoldering cigarettes.

4. Cook Carefully

Never leave cooking unattended. Keep cooking areas clear of combustibles and wear clothes with short, rolled-up or tight-fitting sleeves when you cook. Turn pot handles inward on the stove where you Cook carefullycan't bump them and children can't grab them. Enforce a "Kid-Free Zone" three feet (one meter) around your kitchen stove. If grease catches fire in a pan, slide a lid over the pan to smother the flames and turn off the heat. Leave the lid on until cool. Do not attempt to smother the flames with a towel, flower or baking powder (things that were once living, burn). Have a multi-use fire extinguisher in or near the kitchen, and learn how to properly operate it. Baking Soda is a last resort alternative to a multi-use fire extinguisher.

5. Give Space Heaters Space.

Keep portable heaters and space heaters at least three feet (one meter) from anything that can burn. keep children and pets away from heaters, and never leave heaters on when you leave home or go to bed.

6. Remember: Matches And Lighters Are Tools, Not Toys

Match ignitingIn a child's hand, matches and lighters can be deadly. Use only child-resistant lighters and store all matches and lighters up high, where small children can't see or reach them, preferably in a locked cabinet. Teach your children that matches and lighters are tools, not toys, and should be used only by adults or with adult supervision. Teach young children to tell a grown-up if they find matches or lighters; older children should bring matches or lighters to an adult immediately.

7. Candles Burn

Candles are a common cause of accidental fires. Use extra caution when burning candles. Be sure you have plenty of clearance around all lit candles and be aware of any items that may fall over onto a candle or nock a candle over. Keep lit candles out of the reach of small children and animals, as they may appear to be fun items to play with or nock over. NEVER leave lit candles unattended.

8. Use Electricity Safely

If an electrical appliance smokes or has an unusual smell, unplug it immediately, then have it serviced before using it again. Replace any electrical cord that is cracked or frayed. Don't overload extension cords or run them under rugs. Don't overload outlets. Each outlet should have only one cord plugged into it. Use UL rated power strips when more plugs are needed. Use safety caps to keep small fingers and objects out of outlets. Don't tamper with your fuse box or use improper-size fuses. Never tape a fuse to the open position. Keep the covers closed and make sure that there are no empty knockouts.

9. Crawl Low Under Smoke

During a fire, smoke and poisonous gases rise with the heat. The air is cleaner near the floor. If you encounter smoke while you are escaping from a fire, use an alternate escape route.

10. Fire Extinguishers are a Last ResortFirefighter

Call 911 or instruct someone else to do so before attempting to use a fire extinguisher. Install A-B-C (multi-use) extinguishers in the home and teach adult family members how to use them. Be sure everyone knows where extinguishers are located. Check the gauge on your extinguisher yearly. Be sure the needle is in the green area of the gauge. Replace any extinguisher that has been discharged, is low, or that is 10 years or older. Be sure that the handle and pen are secured. Periodically turn over the extinguisher and tap the bottom to loosen up any "packed powder." This helps to ensure the best results from the extinguisher when it is needed.