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Fire Safety Measures

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Potential Fire Hazards

Cooking Equipment

  • Keep an eye on anything you're cooking if the setting is higher than "warm."
  • Keep potholders, plastic utensils, towels, or other non-cooking equipment away from the stove, because these items can catch fire.
  • Roll up or fasten long, loose sleeves while cooking.
  • Store candy or cookies away from the stove so kids won't be tempted to climb on it to get to the treats.

Cigarettes, Lighters and Matches

Smoking materials are the leading cause of home fire deaths. The tools used to light them are also a fire hazard, so:

  • Keep lighters and matches in a locked cabinet out of sight and reach of children, and remind children that they are tools for adults, not toys.
  • Make sure that cigarette butts are fully extinguished before emptying ashtrays. Never place a cigarette butt directly into a trashcan without dousing it with water first.

Furnaces, Fireplaces, and Space Heaters

Furnaces should be inspected annually. Keep boxes, paper, and other flammables away from the furnace. An outdoor shed is better.

There are other potential household fire hazards, so keep in mind that:

  • Fireplaces should be protected with screens or tempered glass doors. Keep kindling at least three feet away from the fireplace. Have the chimney inspected yearly and cleaned if necessary.
  • When purchasing an electric space heater, look for the UL mark. Keep at least three feet between the heater and anything that can burn. Turn the heater off before falling asleep or leaving the area you are heating.

Wood-Burning Stoves

  • Make sure wood-burning stoves are properly installed and meet your town's building and fire codes.
  • Do not burn trash or other items in the stove. Never use gasoline or other flammable liquids to start a stove fire. Burn coal only if recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Remember that wood and coal stoves get very hot. If you have young children living in or visiting your home, supervise them carefully and consider installing a temporary stove guard to help prevent burns.
  • Follow stove instructions and cleaning and maintenance requirements.
  • Have chimneys inspected each year and cleaned, if necessary, by a professional chimney sweep to avoid dangerous creosote buildup.
  • Use an approved stone board under your wood or coal stove to protect the floor from heat and stray embers.

Kerosene Heaters

  • Learn local and state codes and regulations about the use of kerosene heaters. These heaters are illegal for home use in some areas.
  • Use kerosene only. Never use gasoline in your heater. Gasoline is highly volatile, greatly increasing the risk of fire. Refill kerosene heaters outside after they have cooled down.
  • If a flare-up occurs, activate the manual shut-off switch and call your fire department.
  • Place the heater at least three feet away from anything that can burn and in a low traffic area so it will not be knocked over or trap you in the event of a fire.
  • Keep the room ventilated (a door open, or a window ajar) to prevent an indoor air pollution problem.
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