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Most fatal fires start in the home. You can protect your family and your property by following these fire safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association and State Fire Marshal's Office.

  1. Install and maintain a working smoke detector on every level of your home. Test your smoke detector monthly and change the battery annually. The smoke detector should be replaced routinely every ten (10) years.
  2. Plan two escape routes from every room and arrange a meeting place outside your home (oak tree, mailbox, neighbor's front porch, etc.). Practice your escape plan with all members of your family. Check and make sure your windows are easy to operate even by your children. Once you leave your home never re-enter for any reason.
  3. Never smoke in bed or when drowsy.
  4. Cooking safety: Never leave food, especially grease, unattended on the stove. If a fire should start in a pan, carefully slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Never put water on a grease fire. Never let your children play in the kitchen when you are cooking. Children under the age of five (5) are at the greatest risk of being burned. Also, turn the pot and pan handles to the inside so that they cannot be bumped or pulled over. Keep the stove top and oven clean and clear. Always wear tight-fitting or rolled-up sleeves when cooking. Never carry a child and hot food/liquids at the same time.
  5. Electrical safety: Never use an extension cord smaller than the cord on the appliance or fixture. Use only one extension cord to one appliance. The extension cord should be as short as possible (i.e., don't use a fifty foot extension cord if a three foot one will reach). Check fixtures for frayed or damaged wiring. Pets have been known to chew on wires. If a circuit in your home continues to trip the breaker or blows the fuse, have an electrician check it. Never place a penny or other metal object in a fuse box. Never place an electric radio or hair dryer near the bathtub while bathing.
  6. Workshop and storage area safety: Always store gasoline in an approved container. Use gasoline as a motor fuel and never as a cleaning agent. Let motors of mowers and other gasoline equipment cool down before refueling. Always store paint and other flammable liquids far away from appliances, heaters, pilot lights, and other sources of flame or heat. Never smoke while using or close to flammable liquids.
  7. Outdoor safety: Use outdoor cooking grills with caution. Never use gasoline to start a fire, and do not apply charcoal lighter fluid or gasoline once the fire is started. Use cooking grills outside only, not on porches or balconies, and away from vegetation and combustibles. Never store propane cylinders inside. Never pour gasoline onto the ground to kill fire ants or yellow jackets. Never start a fire for outdoor burning of yard trimmings.
  8. Heater safety: When buying portable heaters be sure that they are U.L. or F.M. Listed and approved for the type of use you desire. Follow all manufacturers’ instructions carefully when using electric or kerosene heaters. Portable heaters need to be at least three (3) feet from all combustible items. Keep children away from heaters. Be sure that the heater has an automatic shut-off in case it is tipped over. Never use the same fuel can for gasoline in the summer and kerosene in the winter. Use proper ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide from building up; also, install a carbon monoxide detector in the home. The Standard Fire Prevention Code Section 504.1.4 states that the use of any liquid fuel unvented heating appliance shall be permitted in one and two family dwellings only.
  9. Fireplace safety: Chimneys and fireplaces should be cleaned and inspected annually by a chimney sweep service. Creosote can build up and ignite your chimney, roof, or house. Do not use flammable liquids to start your fire in the fireplace. Keep a screen in front of the fire to keep embers from popping into the house. Put hot ashes in metal containers outside of the home to cool. Make sure tree limbs are at least ten (10) feet away from the chimney.
  10. Protecting your children from scald burns: In a matter of seconds, a child can get life-threatening burns. Here are some items to keep in mind:
  11. Know how to use fireworks safely: Fireworks can be very dangerous when used improperly. Read and follow all directions. Small children should not play with fireworks. Parents should supervise all children when fireworks are involved. If a firework should misfire, leave it alone - there could be a delay in ignition. Never place any fireworks in your pockets. Keep fireworks in a cool, dry place. If you clothes should catch on fire, remember to stop, drop, and roll.