Fire Prevention

A life-threatening fire can start in a matter of minutes! Many fires can be prevented with some simple precautions and home preparedness.



About three out of five fire deaths happen in homes without working smoke alarms. Smoke alarms double the chance of your family surviving a fire so install several.

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas on the ceiling or high on the wall

  • Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen, at least 10 feet from the stove, to reduce false alarms

  • Use special alarms with strobe lights and bed shakers for people who are hard of hearing or deaf

  • Test smoke alarms monthly

  • Replace batteries in your smoke alarm and  carbon monoxide detector annually

  • Replace smoke alarms that are 10 or more years old


A home fire is reported every 88 seconds. Once the smoke alarm sounds, a fire can spread quickly, leaving only a minute or two to escape. That's why it's so important to have a home escape plan.

  • Plan two ways to escape from each room

  • Make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily

  • Identify secondary routes: a window onto an adjacent roof or a collapsible ladder from a second floor window

  • If you live in a multi-story building, plan to use the stairs – never the elevator

  • Designate an outside meeting place a safe distance from the house


Everyone – including children – need to know your family escape plan. The National Fire Protection Association indicates 71% of Americans have a home fire escape plan but only 47% have practiced it. Practice your fire drill with everyone in the house at night and during the day, twice a year.

  • Practice getting out with eyes closed, crawling low to the floor and keeping your mouth covered

  • Practice closing doors behind you

  • Practice how to “stop, drop and roll” if your clothes catch on fire

  • Practice testing door handles to see if they are hot before opening them

  • Teach children never to hide and how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them


Always put your safety first; if you are not confident in your ability to use a fire extinguisher, get out and call 9-1-1. The American Red Cross cautions you to evaluate the situation and ensure:

  • Everyone has left or is leaving the home

  • The fire department has been called

  • The fire is small, not spreading, and there is not much smoke

  • Your back is to an exit you can use quickly

  • You remember the acronym PASS:


Pull the pin.
Aim low at the base of the fire.
Squeeze the handle slowly.
Sweep the nozzle side to side.

Not all fire extinguishers will work on every fire. For home use, the National Fire Protection Association recommends a multi-purpose device large enough to put out a small fire but not so heavy that it will be difficult to handle. Review the instructions once a year.