The place where many Americans feel safest—at home—is the same place with the greatest risk of fire. Nearly 80 percent of fire deaths in the United States each year occur in the home.
The best way to practice fire safety is to make sure one does not break out in the first place. This means being aware of potential hazards in your home. Start by keeping the following tips in mind:
- Check all electrical appliances, cords and outlets. Make sure they are all in working condition, without loose or frayed cords or plugs.
- Use caution with portable heaters. Never place one where a child or pet could accidentally knock it over, and keep it at least three feet away from flammable objects.
- Be careful in the kitchen. Cooking is the leading cause of home fires. Always practice safe cooking habits, such as turning pot handles to avoid being knocked over, and supervising children while cooking.
- Check the fireplace. It should be kept clean and covered with a screen to keep sparks contained. Burn only wood in a home fireplace and never leave a fire burning unattended.
- Beware of cigarettes. They are the number one cause of fire deaths in the U.S. Most are started when ashes or butts fall into couches or chairs, so use caution if you smoke in your home.
- Use candles safely. Keep them out of the reach of children, away from curtains and furniture, and extinguish them before you leave the room. Do not allow children to use candles when unsupervised by an adult.
- Be aware of holiday dangers. If you use a cut Christmas tree, be sure to keep it watered daily, and inspect all lights yearly for worn or frayed cords.
- Make your home fire safe by following these tips:
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home.
- Use the smoke alarm’s test button to check it every month and replace the batteries at least once
- Replace smoke alarms every 10 years.
- Have at least one working fire extinguisher in your home.
- Plan escape routes by determining at least two ways to escape from every room.
- Caution everyone to stay low to the floor while escaping and never open doors that are hot.
Select a safe location outside your home where everyone should meet, and practice your escape plan at least twice a year so everyone knows it well.