According to the U.S. Fire Administration, home fires kill or injure 16,000 Americans each year. Smoking is the leading cause of fire-related deaths while cooking is the primary cause of residential fires.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 37 percent of home fire deaths happen in homes without smoke alarms.
- Install and maintain smoke alarms on every floor of your home and inside and outside of every sleeping area.
- Test all smoke alarms every month to ensure they work properly.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector near every sleeping area.
- Change the batteries at least once a year.
- Never leave cooking unattended.
- Do not wear loose clothing while cooking.
- Supervise and restrict children’s use of stoves, ovens or microwaves. Use a “three feet away from stove” kid zone.
- Keep cooking areas free of flammable objects, such as potholders, towels and matches.
- Keep pot handles turned inward on the stove.
- Do not throw water on a grease fire. Water makes a grease fire worse. If it is safe, put a lid on the grease fire to smother it out.
- Never use gasoline to enhance or start a fire.
- Use grills outside only.
- Keep flammable materials labeled and out of reach of children.
- Know the risk factors in your community that could make fires or injury worse and avoid them.
- Store flammable materials, such as newspapers, wood and kindling, away from fireplaces.
- Get your chimney cleaned annually.
- Do not use kerosene heaters or lamps.
- Never place portable space heaters near flammable materials. Keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything that could catch fire, such as drapery or clothing.
- Never smoke in bed or leave burning cigarettes unattended.
- Keep matches and lighters locked up away from children.
- Do not overload electrical outlets or extension cords.
- Do not place electrical cords or wires under rugs.
- Do not use an appliance that has a spark or smokes. If an appliance has an unusual smell, unplug the appliance immediately.
- When shopping for an artificial tree, select a “fire resistant” tree.
- If you have a real tree, place it in a room away from heating sources and avoid high-traffic rooms.
- Check all wires and connections before using lights. Throw out any with frayed or bare wires or those with bad connections to the outlets.
- Turn off lights, both inside and outside, when leaving home or going to bed.
- Use non-combustible or flame-resistant materials for decorating around the home.
- Use candles only in safe areas that are out of reach of children and where the candles will not be knocked over.
Be prepared for a fire.
- Create a family fire escape plan and practice it.
- Identify at least two ways each family member can escape every room.
- Designate a safe place for family members to meet after escaping a fire.
- Stay low to the ground during a fire.
- Check the door handle with the back of your hand. If it is hot, do not open it.
- Do not open a door if you see smoke under it.
- Never go back into a burning house.
- Call 911 once you’re out of the house.
- If you are trapped in the house, yell for help or call 911 from your cell phone.
Sources: Governors Highway Safety Association, GHSA press release, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Missouri Motorcycle Safety Program, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Motorcycle Safety Foundation, National Association of State Motorcycle Safety Administrators, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration