Fire Safety

Fire Safety and planning can help protect you home and prevent property loss, injury, and even death.

The International Code Council has put together some helpful information for Building Safety Month, and week one is all about Keeping Fire In Its Place:


In 2010, more than 362,000 residential fires caused 2,555 deaths, more than 13,000 injuries and more than $6.5 billion in property damage costs.

The United States Fire Administration(USFA) states that the top five fire-safety topics most frequently identified with home fire deaths are smoke alarms, escape plans, child fire safety, older adult fire safety (cooking and heating) and careless smoking.

So what can you do to prevent fires in your home? The USFA offers these statistics and tips:

  • Children under age 5 are twice as likely as the rest of us to die in a home fire. So create an escape plan and make sure everyone in your home practices it. Plan two routes of escape from every room, and designate a meeting place outside of the home. Remember: get out and stay out.
  • The third leading cause of fire death for older adults is cooking. Never leave cooking unattended because a serious fire can start in seconds. Don’t wear loose clothing while cooking. Keep towels and pot holders away from the range. Double-check the kitchen before you go to bed or leave your home.
  • The second leading cause of fire death for older adults is heating. When buying a space heater, look for the auto-off feature should the heater fall over. Keep space heaters at least three feet away from other objects. Your fireplace should have a screen large enough to catch flying sparks and rolling logs.
  • The number one cause of preventable home fire deaths is smoking. If you smoke, practice these fire-safety tips to avoid putting your life, your home and your family at risk: Don’t leave a burning cigarette, cigar or pipe unattended. If you feel drowsy, put it out immediately. Use deep ashtrays. And, never smoke in bed.
  • More than 2,500 Americans died in home fires last year. In most cases, the home did not have a working smoke alarm. A sounding smoke alarm gives you with the extra seconds you need to get out of your home – alive. Install and maintain a smoke alarm on every level of your home. Replace the battery every year. It’s a simple way to help keep you and your family better protected 24-7.

Take some time to evaluate your fire safety plan for your home and family. If you do not have a planned escape route and meeting place, make one. And then practice it. Even very young children and toddlers can learn and follow an escape plan.

The US Fire Administration suggests the following actions to take in order to prepare your family:

Children as young as three years old can follow a fire escape plan they have practiced often. Yet, many families don’t have detailed escape plans, and those that do usually don’t practice them.

Practicing a fire escape plan and fire-safe behaviors on a regular basis can mean the difference between life and death.

Draw a basic diagram of your home, marking all windows and doors, and plan two routes of escape out of each room. Consider various fire scenarios when creating your plan and develop actions for a safe escape. Plan for each member of your family, including babies and toddlers who may be unable to escape on their own.

Keep exits clear of debris and toys.

Keep your child’s bedroom door closed. If a hallway fire occurs, a closed door may hinder the smoke from overpowering your baby or toddler, giving firefighters extra time for rescue.

Teach toddlers not to hide from firefighters. Their uniforms can be scary in times of crisis. Teach children that firefighters are there to help in an emergency. Take children for a tour at your local fire station so that they can see a firefighter in full gear.

Teach your children how to crawl under the smoke to reduce smoke inhalation.

Also, teach your children how to touch closed doors to see if they are hot before opening. If so, use an alternate escape route.

Have a safe meeting place outside the home and teach children never to go back inside.

Taking the time to implement and practice fire safety procedures can make all the difference if ever faced with an emergency situation. Even just a few extra seconds may give your family time to escape to safety.

For a printable escape grid, Click Here.

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