Learn About Fire Safety

The outbreak of an uncontrolled fire is a danger that threatens not only valuable property, but also human lives. In the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there were 384,000 household fires in 2010 that resulted in over 2,500 deaths. While these numbers are frightening, it is possible to reduce the number of home fires and related deaths. Although it is not always the case, often times these fires are accidental in nature and can be avoided. To do this people must educate themselves and their family on issues related to fire safety.

Common Household Fire Dangers

The average home is filled with items and substances that could potentially result in a fire. Every homeowner and renter should be aware that there are, however, several items or activities that tend to be more problematic than others. This includes actions such as cooking and smoking, or devices like heating appliances and clothes dryers. Faulty electrical wiring and damaged appliances are also common causes of electrical fires in homes. Fortunately, these hazards can be avoided when caution is applied in addition to regular maintenance.

  • Common Causes of House Fire: A list of some of the more common causes of fires that occur in residential homes.

  • Home Fire Protection - Housing Fact Sheets: A PDF that provides information about fires. The document names the most common cause of residential fires and the most common cause of fatal fires, as well as preventative tips.

  • Common Causes of House Fires Include Kitchen Appliances, Dryer: An ABC News article about common causes of household fires. The article breaks the causes down from the cause with highest percentage in terms of causing fires to the lowest.

  • Top Ten Causes of House Fires: A Reader's Digest Canada article that lists the top causes of home fires. The article is in slide-show format and gives ways to prevent them from causing fires.

  • Major Causes of Fire: The National Fire Protection Association website that lists cooking as one of the major causes of fire. It gives statistics and includes other facts and figures.

  • Common Causes of Fire: A page that lists some of the common causes of fire. Each cause that is cited is followed by facts and preventative measures that can be taken.

  • Fire Safety at Home: An article that discusses some of the leading causes of fire and fire-related injuries in the home. It also includes a section about prevention.

  • Facts on Fire: The Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness fact sheet on fire names some of the most common causes of fire and fire deaths. The page also includes facts on fire in the United States, where fires occur, what saves lives, and who is at the most risk.

  • Fire Safety Handbook: The Fire Safety Handbook for Apartment Managers goes into detail about common home fire hazards, such as cooking, smoking and heaters, and includes precautions that apartment residents can take.

Fire Prevention Methods

While it is important to recognize what may start a fire, it is equally as important to understand what can be done to prevent it from occurring. Taking the right steps can not only save a person's own life, but also the lives of others and prevent the damage of property. Generally, fire prevention is a matter of awareness and caution. When cooking, people should be aware of their actions in terms of leaving flammable items near gas burners or hot electric elements. Leaving items unattended on a stove top may also result in a fire. Clothes dryers should be kept free of lint and electrical appliances should be checked routinely to ensure that they are in proper working order and undamaged. People who smoke should be particularly cautious and should never smoke in bed or when they are tired. Proper maintenance of one's house, such as having the fireplace cleaned, is also important to prevent a fire from starting. When a person rents an apartment, the landlord or apartment management should perform regular maintenance to avoid fire threats as well.

  • Fire Prevention and Safety Checklist (PDF): A PDF checklist from the Red Cross about fire prevention and safety. The checklist includes information for preventing home fires, practicing fire safety at home and steps to take in case of a fire, such as a fire escape plan.

  • Candle Safety Rules: Tips on how to use candles safely to prevent accidental fires. These tips are provided by the National Candle Association on their website.

  • Fire Safety Management - Fire Safety Tips: Fire safety tips on the City of Orlando Fire Department website. The fire prevention tips include advice on holiday decorations including trees, candles, fireplaces, grilling, and more.

  • Holiday Fire Safety Tips: A brief list of fire prevention tips for the holiday season.

  • Top Five Ways to Prevent Home Fires: a U.S. News Money article that lists five fire threats and ways that people can prevent them.

  • Preventing Home Fires in Winter (PDF): A PDF document that explains what preventative measures people can do to prevent fire during the winter months. Christmas trees, fireplaces, candles, and children are all topics of discussion.

  • Kitchen Cooking Fire Safety (PDF): A PDF article that gives advice on how to prevent fires from happening while cooking.

  • CDC: Fire Deaths and Injuries: Prevention Tips: Tips on how to prevent fires in the home and as a result prevent injury or death. Tips also include fire safety tips such as alarms and escape planning.

Fire Safety for Pets

When a fire happens pets are often in more danger than their owners. Because pets do not have the ability to get out of most houses, they can become trapped in a burning home, particularly if the pet owner is not at home at the time of the fire. Even homes with pet doors fail to provide a means of escape if there are other animals, such as birds, in the home, or if the door becomes blocked. To ensure that indoor pets do not become trapped, pet owners can take certain steps to let the fire responders know that there are animals indoors, such as purchasing window clings, or stickers, that alert responders to the presence of animals. When homeowners are in the home, they should have a plan on how to gather their pets and keep carriers or leashes available and easily accessible in order to do so. Pet safety also involves precautionary measures to ensure that animals do not unintentionally start fires. This means properly protecting wires and electrical cords from animals that chew and keeping candles safely away from curious animals that may burn themselves or knock the candles over.

  • ASPCA: Five Fire Safety Tips for People with Pets: This ASPCA page lists five tips that pet owners should follow to ensure the safety of their pets. This tips are primarily are helpful for preventing fires from happening and for making fire responders aware of the presence of an animal in the event of a fire.

  • Prevention Tips to Keep Pets from Starting Home Fires: An article on the American Kennel Club website about fire safety and pets. The article discusses ways to prevent pets from causing fires and how to keep pets safe in the event of a fire.

  • Fire Safety for Pet Owners Fact Sheet: A fact sheet with safety and prevention tips that pet owners can use to keep their pets safe. This fact sheet appears on the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) website.

  • Pet Fire Safety: Tips on fire safety on the website for Naugatuck Veterinary Hospital. The article includes tips on what owners can do to prevent pets from starting accidental fires.

  • Include Your Pets in Fire Safety Programs: The Humane Society of Utah website includes ways that pet owners can include their pets in their family fire safety programs.

  • Fire Safety and Your Pet (PDF): A PDF that discusses how families can include their pets in their safety plans and take measures to keep pets safe. Also includes names where pet owners can find information about pet shelters and lost-and-found databases.

  • Promoting Pet Fire Safety - Pet-Related Fire Safety Tips: An article that gives tips on how to keep pets safe during a fire and how to pet-proof a home to keep them from accidentally starting a fire.

  • Don't Let Fido Start a Fire: An article from the L.A. County Fire Department that discusses measures that homeowners can take to prevent their dogs from accidentally starting a fire. It also tells how they can keep their dogs safe in the event of a fire.

Fire Safety for Children

Educating children about the risks of fires is an important part of keeping them safe. Because children are naturally curious, they can inadvertently cause a fire in the home or yard if they do not know that what they are doing is dangerous. Often schools will teach children about fires and fire safety, but even before they begin school children can be taught at an early age to avoid certain items that could burn them or start a fire. In addition, parents should talk with their children to ensure that they understand what to do in the event of a house fire. Children who are old enough to understand, should know what the family evacuation plans are and should be told what not to do in the event of a fire. Family members should have a plan on who will help infants, toddlers and other small children evacuate the premises. Parents and guardians must also take step to keep potentially flammable items away from small children, such as candles, lighters and matches. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, a large number of fires are accidentally started by toddlers that play with these types of items.

  • A website that provides various activities for children regarding fire safety. It also includes cartoons and games that are all centered around fire safety.

  • Kids Fire Safety Tips: A colorful website for kids that gives fire safety tips using cartoon characters and language that is easy for young kids to understand.

  • KidsHealth: Fire Safety: Advice about fire safety for kids. It provides information about fire prevention, holiday dangers, candle safety, matches and lighters, and more.

  • Rescue 1: Fire Safety for Kids - Kid's Zone: The Kid's Zone section of the Fire Safety for Kids website includes games and activities that are designed to help kids learn about fire safety. The website in general includes videos on fire safety as well as a section for parents and teachers.

  • Fire Facts: Fire Safety Made Fun!: A website that educates kids about fire safety through fun activities such as games, puzzles, and coloring pages. The website provides resources for parents and educators to help them further educate children about the dangers of fire.

  • Fire Safety for Young Children: A video about fire safety that shows young children what they should do if there is a fire.

  • PBS Kids - Arthur: Fire Safety Tips: A website centered around the popular children's animated character Arthur. The web page gives tips for kids on how they can be smart, prepared and safe in the event of a fire.

  • Fire Safety Tips for Children: Fire prevention, solutions, and warnings that parents can teach to their children.

General Fire Safety Resources

  • OSHA: Fire Safety - A United States government page about fire safety in the workplace.

  • Fire Safety Resource Center - A family-friendly fire safety website for readers of all ages. Contains worksheets and teacher's aids for adults as well as games and quizzes for students.

  • The Michael H. Minger Foundation: Fire Safety Resources For RAs - A fire safety teaching guide website maintained by the Michael H Minger Foundation. This site offers a variety of videos and pamphlets about fire safety issues for residential assistants.

  • Evacuation and Fire Safety Plans: An article that discusses the importance of evacuation and fire safety plans for the home and workplace. The article tells the reader what is needed for a fire evacuation plan and what is necessary for a good fire safety plan. It also stresses the importance of a training employees.

  • The Importance of Smoke Alarms for Your Family: An article by the product safety certification organization known as UL, or Underwriter's Laboratories, Inc., that discusses the importance of having a smoke alarm in the home. The article also discusses how many alarms to buy and the importance of having an evacuation plan.

  • House and Building Fire: An web page about how to prepare for a fire and what to do in the event of a fire. The page includes drop-down boxes with information about how to prepare for a fire, what to do during a fire, and what to do after a fire.

  • Fire Preparedness: An article on the Fairfax County, Virginia website on how to be prepared for a fire. The article gives tips on what to do before a fire, such as planning an escape, and also tells the readers what to do during an actual fire and after the fire.