Keeping Your Home Safe from Fires

Posted by David Pickle on


From 2010-2015 there was an average 367,800 house fires a year according to the National Fire Protection Association. This week, we'd like to blog about fire safety in the home, how to prevent fires and what to do if there is one.

How Fires are Started

The top causes for fires are Arson, Candles, Cooking, Electrical, Heating, Smoking and Young fire-setters.

  • Arson - An estimated 282,600 intentional fires (2007-2011)
  • Candles - 3% of reported home fires, 3% of home fire deaths, 6% of home fire injuries, and 5% of the direct property damage in home fires (2009-2013)
  • Cooking - 46% of home fires that resulted in 19% of the home fire deaths and 44% of the injuries (2010-2014)
  • Electrical - An estimated 47,000 home fires (2014).
  • Heating - An estimated 56,000 home fires (2009-2013).These fires accounted for 16% of all reported home fires.
  • Smoking -An estimated 90,000 smoking-material fires (2011)
  • Young Fire-setters - An average of 49,300 fires involving playing with fire were reported (2007-2011)


How to Prevent Fires

Here are some tips below taken from National Fire Protection Association. Tips are summarized, to see in full details or for more tips just click on the links.


The NFPA worked with the Columbus (OH) Division of Fire to produce the “Preventing Arson Together" presentation. This program focuses on actions you and those in your neighborhood can do to help prevent a variety of types of arson.


  1. Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed.
  2. Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn
  3. Use candle holders that are sturdy, and won’t tip over easily.
  4. Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage. Never use candles


  1. Keep an eye on what you fry
  2. Be alert when cooking
  3. Keep things that can catch fire away from cooking area


  1. Have all electrical work done by a qualified electrician.
  2. When you are buying or remodeling a home, have it inspected by a qualified inspector.
  3. Only use one heat-producing appliance (such as a coffee maker, toaster, space heater, etc.) plugged into a receptacle outlet at a time.
  4. Check electrical cords to make sure they are not running across doorways or under carpets. Extension cords are intended for temporary use. Have a qualified electrician add more receptacle outlets so you don’t have to use extension cords.


  1. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
  2. Never use your oven to heat your home.
  3. Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  4. Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.


  1. If you smoke, smoke outside.
  2. Use deep, wide ashtrays on a sturdy table.
  3. Before you throw out butts and ashes, make sure they are out, and dousing in water or sand is the best way to do that.
  4. Keep matches and lighters up high, out of children's sight and reach.

Young Fire-setters:

  1. Store matches and lighters out of children’s reach and sight, up high, preferably in a locked cabinet or container. Never leave matches or lighters in a bedroom or any place where children may go without supervision.
  2. Never use lighters or matches as a source of amusement for children; they may imitate you.
  3. Never assign a young child any tasks that involve the use of a lighter or matches (lighting candles, bringing a lighter to an adult to light a cigarette or the fireplace, etc.
  4. Use only lighters designed with child-resistant features.

Being Prepared

If a fire breaks out in your home you need to know what to do. Being prepared and planning ahead can keep you and your family safe. Here are a few things you can do to ensure your safety:

  • Make a home escape plan
  • Have an outside meeting place
  • Practice your home fire drill at night and during the day
  • Teach children to escape on their own

Click here for more tips and guidelines on how to create a Fire Escape Plan for your family.


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