Consumer Focus

Residential Fire Safety a Hot Topic

Fires and burns are the third leading cause of unintentional injury and related deaths in the home, according to the Home Safety Council. So much is at stake: and since fire safety begins with everyone in your household being prepared, it’s important to have appropriate measures in place.


In the Kitchen

  • Stay in the kitchen while cooking
  • Keep flammable things at least three feet away from the range top.
  • Before cooking roll up your sleeves, as clothes can touch a hot burner and catch on fire.

Outdoor Grilling

  • Never leave a barbecue grill unattended while in use.
  • Keep grills at least three feet away from the house and shrubs or bushes.

The Heat is on

  • Store matches and lighters in a locked cabinet.
  • Keep space heaters at least three feet away from things such as curtains and newspapers. 
  • Turn off heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Schedule yearly inspections of chimneys, fireplaces, wood and coal stoves and central furnaces. 
  • Keep a glass or metal screen in front or your fireplace.

Up in Smoke

  • Smoke outside.
  • Use large, deep ashtrays on sturdy surfaces such as a table.
  • Douse cigarette butts with water before dumping in the trash.

Candle Power

  • Never leave burning candles unattended. 
  • Do not allow children to keep candles or incense in their rooms.
  • Always use stable candle holders made of nonflammable materials, such as metal, glass, etc.
  • Blow out candles when adults leave the room. 

Escape routes are a necessity, especially if a fire were to occur during the night. offers the following suggestions:

Go through each room in your house. Have in mind two escape routes per room, in case fire blocks one.

  • Furniture should not block doorways or windows.
  • Make sure windows are easy to open and not painted over or nailed shut.
  • If you live in an apartment, ensure that safety bars on windows are removable in an emergency.
  • Know the closest stairwells or fire escapes and where they lead.

If your house is more than one story tall, an escape ladder is important.

  • Have one escape ladder made of fire-safe material (aluminum, not rope) in each upper-story bedroom.
  • Escape ladders should be operated by adults only.
  • Ladders must be approved by an independent testing laboratory;
  • The length must be appropriate for your home
  • It must support the weight of the heaviest adult in the house.


In the event of a fire, properly installed and maintained smoke alarms will provide an early warning alarm to your household. It could save your own life and those of your loved ones by providing the chance to escape.

The U.S. Fire Administration web site  
has invaluable information about the types of smoke alarms and their placement and installation.

Fire safety in the home requires fire protection knowledge and preparation.  Follow these sensible fire safety tips to protect your home and the most important assets in your life: your family.