Every year, housefires occur where many lives are lost and property damage is terrible. Many of these tragic events could have been prevented. We have to realize how easily an unattended electric heater or electrical problem can quickly turn into our worst nightmare.
This page addresses safety in and around the home. For information about forest, rangeland, or other fires please refer to the United States Forest Service and United States Bureau of Land Management's websites. In other countries, refer to your local Emergency Management offices for advisories, precautions, and alerts that relate to wildfires and other dangerous seasonal conditions.
1) Make sure electrical outlets are not overloaded. It is very dangerous to have more appliances plugged into one outlet than what that outlet and circuit are safely rated for. Some appliances use more electricity than others. Some have a much higher wattage or amperage consumption. If in doubt, do the research on your particular situation. Don't overload any outlet or circuit by using more than one power strip or extension cord per electrical outlet in either your home or business.
2) Use extreme caution with fireplaces and other open flames such as candles or oil lamps. Be very careful when smoking indoors.
3) Have your chimney professionally cleaned once per year, especially if you use it every season.
4) Take extra care when using portable electric and propane heaters. Don't use them near any flammable material.
5) Don’t store flammable materials near open flames or heat sources.
6) Is the electrical circuitry and wiring in your home in good condition? If not, have an Electrician repair any problems immediately. Electrical fires are extremely dangerous and any suspected problem you have in your home should be fixed right away.
Recently, it has been widely reported that certain drywall/ wallboard may create damaging vapors that corrode electrical wiring within walls. If you know or think you have a home with the suspect Chinese or other drywall, don't take chances with your lives, get out of that dwelling. It has been reported that these vapors are also causing serious health concerns. Your safety and well-being are far more important than having to walk away from an unsafe home.
7) Improper use of portable heaters is one of the largest causes of home fires. Keep heaters at least three feet away from any combustible material such as drapes, furnishings, bedding or other flammable material. DO NOT use propane heaters or any fuel-burning heater in enclosed areas without adequate ventilation. The exhaust fumes are deadly. Make sure your portable electric heater has a safety cut-off switch and never leave one running unattended. Unplug them when not in use.
8) Don’t leave stoves, ovens, fireplaces, candles, oil lamps or anything that could cause a fire unattended for any length of time.
9) Use caution when cooking with oils or greases around high heat. Keep dishtowels, paper towels, and anything else that could catch on fire safely away from the stove, toaster, or toaster oven. Keep a coffee can full of baking soda in the kitchen to extinguish grease fires.
10) Make sure every room has a smoke detector and check the batteries twice each year.
11) Have a carbon monoxide detector if you use natural gas for home or water heating and also if you have a fireplace in your home.
12) If you’re at home when a fire starts, quickly gather each family member and any pets and get out fast. Stay out and do not attempt to re-enter a burning structure no matter what.
Plan in advance for all family members to know precautions for preventing fire. Have an evacuation plan. Know in advance how you will exit the home no matter what floor or room you may be in.
13) Keep a fire extinguisher on every level of your home and one in the garage. Check the pressure guage often to ensure the extinguisher is fully charged and ready for use.