The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service has designed the following checklist to promote safety in your home. Many things around the home can be fire hazards and taking the time to look for and eliminate them can greatly reduce your risk. Please review these tips and help us by conducting a home safety inspection today.
Do you have smoke alarms on every level of your home?
Install smoke alarms on every level of your home including basements and in all sleeping areas. Test and dust alarms monthly, replace batteries annually and replace any smoke alarms that are 10 years or older. Change the battery immediately if the unit starts making a “chirping” sound alerting you to a low battery.
Does everyone know what to do in case of a fire?
Having a fire escape plan for you and your family and practicing it with a home fire drill can reduce the amount of time it takes to get out of your home safely. In your fire escape plan, have two ways out of each room, a prearranged meeting place outside and, most importantly, ONCE OUT – STAY OUT! Always call 9-1-1 from a safe location.
Can we find you if we need to?
Are your house numbers clearly visible from the street? Please provide 5 inch numbers with contrasting background.
Cooking left unattended is the leading cause of home fires.
If you must leave the kitchen while cooking, turn off the heat. It’s a recipe for serious injury to wear loose clothing while cooking (such as long or dangling sleeves) or leaving flammable materials such as potholders, dishtowels or paper towels around the stove which can ignite easily. Heat cooking oils gradually and use extra caution when deep-frying. In the event of a fire, turn off the heat source and put a lid on the pan to smother the fire. Never throw water on a grease fire or attempt to move a pan that is on fire.
Smoking is the number 1 cause of home fire deaths.
If you must smoke, smoke outside. Most home fires caused by smoking materials start inside the home. Use ashtrays with a wide, stable base that won’t tip over and place ashtrays on a surface that will not ignite. Dowse all smoking materials with water before disposal and consider using fire-safe cigaterettes that further reduce fire risk.
Don’t overload electrical outlets/extension cords/circuits.
Don't overload extension cords by plugging in appliances that exceed the rating of the cord. Replace cracked or worn extension cords, don’t run extension cords under rugs or carpets or in high traffic areas and never plug one extension cord into another.
Use candles with care.
Candle fires have almost tripled. Keep candles away from anything that can burn and extinguish all candles when leaving the room, going to sleep or leaving the house. Use a flashlight rather than a candle during power outages and consider using battery-powered candles that give the appearance of a flame without having an actual flame.
Space heaters need space.
Portable space heaters can quickly warm up a cold room, but they have been the cause of many serious home fires. Keep fixed and portable space heaters at least three feet from anything that can burn and follow all manufacturer instructions. Never dry wet clothing or shoes on space heaters and always turn heaters off when leaving the room or going to sleep.
Can your ashes!
Leftover fireplace ashes and embers can start fires long after the intended fire has gone out. Properly dispose of ashes in a metal container with a lid – never in a paper bag, cardboard box, plastic trash can or bag. Ashes should be kept in a metal container located outside and away from your house to cool. Your garage, house, or deck are dangerous locations for ashes to cool.
Residential fire sprinklers save lives!
Fire Sprinklers are economical, reliable and proven to be the best way to protect your family and home from the dangers of fire. Although smoke alarms are essential in every house, they’re designed to detect, not control or extinguish, a fire. Consider the tax benefits when retrofitting your home with residential fire sprinklers and may even reduce homeowner insurance premiums.
Got one? GET ONE!
Free smoke alarms are available to qualified Montgomery County residents and free home safety evaluations are available to all residents.