It takes only minutes for a home to become engulfed in flames. A fire can be life-threatening and quickly destroy your property. Most of these devastating scenarios can be prevented with careful preparation. Here are 5 tips to help keep your home and family safe.

Install & Test Smoke Alarms

  • Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of a home, in basements, inside bedrooms, and outside sleeping areas. Consider installing interconnect smoke alarms that will all sound when one sounds.
  • Alarms should be tested at least once a month. Batteries will need to be replaced yearly. Schedule a specific time each year or replace when the chirping reminds you the battery is low. Non-replacement 10-year lithium batteries are the exception to this rule.
  • Smoke alarms older than 10 years old should be replaced.

Cook Smart

  • When cooking, be alert. Do not use the stove if you are sleepy or have been drinking alcohol.
  • Keep small children at least three feet away from the cooking area.
  • Always stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food. If you are leaving, even for a moment, turn off the stove.
  • Keep flammables away from the stovetop including potholders, towels, and other typical kitchen items used while cooking.
  • When cooking, wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves.
  • With baking, roasting, and simmering, check on your food regularly and set a timer for reminders.
  • Never disable a fire alarm while cooking.
  • Grills should be positioned at least 10 feet from siding and deck railings, and out and away from under eaves and overhanging branches.

Use of Fire Extinguisher

  • Fire extinguishers can be helpful when putting out small fires. It is recommended to have several fire extinguishers placed strategically in your home for quick use.
  • Be sure you know how to operate your extinguisher properly. Check your extinguisher regularly and get it tested by a professional every few years.

Know & Teach Basic Fire Safety

  • Keep all matches, lighters, and candles out of reach of children.
  • Teach your children basic fire safety tips so they know what to do in an emergency. The National Fire Protection Agency has some great, printable resources for teaching fire safety. Games and other tools for teaching children fire safety are located here.

Make a Plan

  • Getting out of your home in under two minutes is crucial for your family’s safety. Having a plan in place that has been practiced is critical.
  • All household members including children should know how to dial 9-1-1 in case of an emergency. Be sure your children know what the smoke alarm sounds like and what they should do if they hear it.
  • Create and practice a fire escape plan with your family. The National Fire Protection Agency has a downloadable worksheet that can help you make a kid-friendly escape plan. Your plan should be practiced at least twice a year.

The safety of your home and family always comes first. Making the necessary preparations now to prevent a fire will be the best protection you can provide against fire damage and loss.


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