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Conduct a Room by Room Inspection: The first step in home fire safety is to thoroughly inspect each room for fire hazards. Make this inspection a periodic habit in order to sop potential problems.
In Your Kitchen: Don't leave your stove unattended while broiling or frying foods. Never pour water on burning oil or fat, instead smother the flames in a pan with a lid or fire extinguisher. Don't attempt to carry the burning pan outside, as you may burn yourself and spill grease, spreading the fire.

Turn all pot handles away from the stove's edge, out of the reach of young children.

Don't use malfunctioning appliances, have them repaired instead. Never use an electrical appliance if your hands or feet are wet.

Never try to clean a toaster with a fork or other metal item. Unplug the toaster first and then use wooden tongs.

Don't store frequently used items over your stove, as it increases your chance of being burned while reaching over a hot stove.

Smoke detectors placed too closely to your kitchen are easily set off by regular cooking smoke. Either move your detector to another location or remember to turn it back on after you've finished in the kitchen.
In Your Bedroom: Never allow anyone to smoke in bed. It is the leading cause of home fire related deaths.

Sleep with the doors closed to keep out smoke and fumes that can overcome you before you awake.
In Your Family Room: Allow "breathing room" around your TV and stereo to prevent overheating.

Always put a metal screen in front of your fireplace when in use. Have your chimney flue periodically inspected and cleaned. Throw out ashes in a metal container.

After smoking visitors leave, check chairs and sofa cushions for smoldering cigarettes, cigars, or ashes.
In Your Basement, Garage, and Storage Rooms: Have your heating equipment checked yearly, as a majority of home fires are caused by heating hazards.

Don't store flammable materials like paper or rags around heating equipment. Keep the area clear around heaters.

Keep all flammable liquids like gasoline or kerosene outside of your home and stored in safety cans with self closing lids.

Replace blown out fuses with ones of similar amperage.

Never thaw frozen pipes with an open flame. Instead, use hot water or a blow dryer.

Keep your wood shop area free of soiled rags and wood shavings.
Throughout Your Home: Post your local fire department number on each telephone in your home.

Keep all matches out of reach of children and away from heat sources.

Don't discard cigarettes or matches in waste baskets. Make certain a cigarette or match is cold before discarding.
Take Electrical Precautions: See that all electrical appliances and cords bear the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) seal of approval, indicating that they meet safety standards.

Don't overload outlets. Too many plugs in an outlet can cause a fire in the wiring or wall. If necessary, have your electrician install additional outlets.

Don't let electrical cords become frayed, wet, or trip hazards. Placing electrical cords under carpets is also dangerous, as they can become damaged and go unnoticed.

Use only an extension cord which is as thick or thicker than the cord you want to extend.

Never use a two prong extension cord with a three prong plug.

If you have children, use outlet covers to keep their fingers out.

Unplug appliances when not in use and when you're on vacation.
Stock Your Home With Fire Safety Equipment: Equipping your home with the proper fire safety devices can make a vital difference in the case of an emergency. In addition, every member of your family should be familiar with the use and application of each item.
Smoke Detectors: Should be located outside sleeping areas and on each level of your home, including at the top and bottom of each stairwell, at both ends of long halls, and at the bottom of the basement stairway.

Should be tested once a week to make sure they work. Under each detector, hold a smoking candle that has just been blown out. To silence the resulting alarm, fan away the smoke.

Should have their batteries replaced once a year. A chirping noise from your detector indicates that the battery needs replacing.
Fire Extinguishers: Should be on hand in your kitchen and in your furnace room. Place them near exits so you'll be able to escape these areas without being trapped.

Should carry the UL label, and be easy to use for all members of your family.

Should be used with a circular sweeping motion, and be aimed at the base of the fire.

Are coded by the types of fires they put out. But dry powder extinguishers marked "ABC" to handle all kinds of homes fires.

Should have a pressure dial you can check once a month to make certain pressure is constant and that no leak has occurred.

Belong in your car too. Experts recommend a portable Halon extinguisher, which is available in a variety of sizes and is effective against electrical and fuel fires.
Collapsible Ladders: Should be kept near upper story windows, where they can be set up in seconds to help you escape from a fire. The lightweight, portable ladders are available at your local hardware store.
Automatic Sprinkler Systems: Are becoming a less expensive and more attractive alternative for home fire prevention. For more information, contact your local sprinkler contractor, but be certain the sprinkler system you have installed is made in accordance with National Fire Protection Association Standards.
Understand the Dangers of Home Heaters: Home heaters, while convenient, can be potential fire hazards if they are not operated and maintained correctly. Be sure your electric or kerosene heater has the UL label of approval, and follow closely the manufacturer's instructions for use. As well, keep in mind these safety tips.
With Kerosene Heaters: Use only water clear kerosene (K-1 grade), as yellow or colored kerosene indicates inferior or contaminated fuel. Certain local ordinances prohibit the use of kerosene heaters for indoor use. Check with local authorities. Never, never, ever use gasoline.

Only refuel a heater outside, and don't store kerosene indoors.

As kerosene heaters produce a significant amount of pollutants, always keep a window slightly open for ventilation.

Keep a clear perimeter of at least three feet around the heater so furniture or other objects won't burn.
With Electric Space Heaters: Check to see if your outlets and wiring are adequate to handle the additional electricity these heaters require.

Keep a clear perimeter of at least three feet around these heaters. If an adjacent piece of furniture feels hot to the touch, it's too close the the heater. Keep heater away from curtains, bedding, and furniture.

Purchase only heaters with thermostat controls that automatically turn off the unit if it overheats, and with a tip over switch that turns off the heater if it's toppled.

Never leave heaters unattended. Be sure they've turned off when you're away from home. Check to see whether your heater is recommended for use while you sleep, if not, turn it off.
With Wood Burning Stoves: Before installing, check with your local fire department for local building codes and proper clearance requirements.

Check your chimney once a month for deposits of creosote, a tar like substance that can accumulate in your flue and catch fire. Have your chimney professionally inspected and cleaned at least once a heating season.

Never use trash or gasoline to start a wood burning stove fire. Kindling works best. Hard woods like oak, maple, birch, elm, or apple that have been dried at least six months make best fuel.
Remember Fire Safety on Holidays: Holidays are no time to forget fire safety. The risk of fire always increases during these festive occasions, while we are distracted by family, friends, and entertaining. But by keeping the following tips in mind, you can rest assured that your holidays will be celebrated safely.

Light Halloween pumpkins with flashlights, not candles. Be sure your children dress in flame resistant costumes.

Don't light your own fireworks on the 4th of July. Instead, attend a supervised fireworks celebration in your area.

Dried out trees are the biggest fire hazard at Christmas. Keep your tree needles moist by watering the base holder daily. When needles start to fall, it means the tree is too dry, and should be disposed of promptly.

Place the Christmas tree away from fireplaces, radiators, and other heat sources. Make sure it doesn't block doorways or traffic.

Make sure any artificial tree you use is flame retardant.

Don't put wrapping paper in your fireplace, it can cause dangerous sparks.

Check to see that all house Christmas lights carry the UL seal of approval.

Never use indoor light for outdoor decoration. Outdoor lights must be weatherproofed and clearly labeled for outdoor use.

Unplug your Christmas lights when you leave your home or go to sleep.

Check your indoor and outdoor Christmas lights each year before you use them. Replace or repair lights with frayed cords, exposed wires, or broken sockets.

Fasten all lights securely to your Christmas tree. Don't let bulbs directly touch branches, curtains, or decorations.

Never use electric lights on a metal tree.

Only use decorations that are non combustible or flame retardant. Do not place then near heat or electrical sources.

Keep candles away from any flammable materials, including curtains, plants, and Christmas trees. Place them where they can't be blown over or reached by children.

Be sure to blow out candles before you leave your home or go to sleep.
Instruct Your Baby Sitter on Fire Safety: Leaving your children in the care of baby sitters means also leaving your home in their care. For that reason, it makes good sense to give your baby sitters a set of instructions on fire safety, so that they know what to do in the case of an emergency.

Leave the number where you can be reached in case of an emergency. Clearly post the number of the local Fire Department on or near the phone.

In case you can't be reached, also leave the name and number of a neighbor or relative.

Write down the address of the house and the names of its nearest cross streets so the baby sitter can easily identify the house location by phone.

Familiarize your baby sitter with both the locations and alarm signal of your smoke alarms.

Give your baby sitter a basic outline of your home's floor plan, with fire exits from each room clearly marked. Review this same plan with your children until you're certain they understand.

Ask your baby sitter to keep phone calls short so that incoming calls aren't blocked.
Develop a Fire Escape Plan: Should a fire start in your home, there is also the threat of panic and confusion among members of your family. Therefore, a fire escape plan is essential. This "fire drill" on paper, when practiced regularly, will give everyone in your family a much greater chance of escaping a fire safely.

Sit down with your entire family and design a fire escape plan together. Draw a floor plan of each level of your home, and mark two exits from every room, through a window or through a door.

Make sure everyone knows both exits from every room, and keep them clear of furniture.

Check all windows, storm windows, and screens to make sure they can be easily opened. Nailing windows shut may help prevent burglaries, but they could also trap a member of your family in a burning room.

Store escape ladders inside near high story windows to assist in window escape.

Make special emergency arrangements for younger children and for the elderly.

Practice your escape plan regularly so that each family member knows what to do.

Before opening doors in a house fire, touch them. If they are hot, don't open them.

Crawl low in smoke to avoid inhalation.

If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop, and roll.

Instruct family members not to waste time getting dressed or gathering personal belongings. The important thing is to get out quickly. Material things can be replaced. YOU CAN NOT.

Designate a meeting place away from your house where a head count can be made. Tell everyone to meet at this point as quickly as possible, and not to re enter the house for any reason. Then call the fire department from a neighbor's house.

Fire Safety Links

Fire safety information on this page provided by USF&G Insurance.