Home Safety Inspection Checklist

Recreational Burning Guidelines

Common Causes of Fires in the Home:

39%: Careless Smoking
26%: Heat, Cooking, and Other Appliances
14%: Matches and Open Flame
13%: Electrical
  6%: Hot Objects (fireplaces)
  2%: Other Sources (gasoline, flammables)

Fire Proofing Tips Throughout the Home:

  • DO install a smoke detector on every floor.
  • DO plan your escape routes in case a fire does start (see below).
  • Install residential fire sprinklers (see below).

Your Bedroom:

DO NOT smoke in bed!
DO NOT place heaters within three feet of flammable materials.
DO NOT use heaters to dry clothes.
DO NOT use extension cords with portable heaters.
DO NOT leave heaters unattended or go to sleep while they are on.
DO unplug heaters after you turn them off.

Your Living and Family Rooms:

DO NOT put ashtrays on chair and sofa arms.
DO NOT run electrical cords under rugs, over nails, or in high traffic areas.
DO NOT leave cigarettes unattended burning in ashtrays.
DO NOT staple electrical cords to walls or otherwise pierce the insulation.

Kitchen Fire Prevention:

DO NOT leave food cooking unattended on the stove. If you must leave the kitchen, take a wooden spoon or potholder as a reminder that something is cooking.
DO NOT cook wearing sleeves that can dangle near or touch the burners.
DO NOT use the oven to heat your home.
DO NOT let grease build up on your stove or oven.
DO NOT let crumbs build up in your toaster.
DO NOT overload electrical outlets with appliances.
DO NOT let curtains hang near your stove or oven.
DO check the kitchen before going to bed. Is the oven off? Coffee pot unplugged?

Killing Kitchen Grease Fires:

How kitchen fires start: Ten minutes after grease or cooking oil overheats, an acrid aroma is emitted. Ten minutes after that, smoke and vapors fill the room. Vapors are ignited by the burner--and a fire starts! Remember, never leave cooking food unattended!

COVER burning pan with a lid or other metal object at least as wide as the pan opening.
DO NOT use water, sugar, flour or baking powder.
TURN OFF the burner.
DO NOT CARRY a burning pan! Let it cool completely before moving it off the stove.
IMPROPER use of a fire extinguisher can spread grease and flames to a wider area. LEARN how to use your kitchen fire extinguisher so that it can be used effectively--especially if the fire has spread from a pan onto other surfaces.
ALWAYS CALL the FIRE DEPARTMENT (from a neighbor's phone if necessary). 

Smoke Detector Tips:

Maintenance: Vacuum and test your smoke detectors monthly.
Change detector batteries every 6 months. A good way to remember to do this is: When you change your clock forward in the spring or backward in the fall, change your smoke detector batteries!
Placement of Smoke Detectors:
Consider which areas of the house need protecting, where fire sources would be the most dangerous, and how many are needed. There should be one smoke detector on each level of a dwelling.
Sleeping Areas:
Bedrooms need the most protection. Place at least one detector in a hallway outside bedroom(s). If the hallway is longer than 30 feet, detectors should be installed at each end of the hallway. Maximum protection is provided by a detector in each bedroom, to supplement those in the hallway.
Living/Family Rooms: Keep detectors away from fireplaces or wood stove to avoid false alarms.
Kitchen: Keep detectors away from cooking fumes to avoid false alarms.
Hall and Stairwell: Place unit at top of each stairwell and at each end of a long hallway.
Basement: Mount unit on ceiling at top of stairway, away from exhaust from furnace or water heater.

Contact your fire department if you have any questions on installation.
Follow manufacturer's instructions for installation and maintenance.

Fire Extinguisher Tips:

Placement of Fire Extinguishers: Fire extinguishers (multi-purpose ABC types) should be kept at readily available locations near potential fire sources (furnaces and stoves).

There should be a minimum of one fire extinguisher on each level of a dwelling and one in the garage.

Operation of Fire Extinguishers: Contents will empty fast so proper use is essential. Stand 6-8 feet from the fire. Aim at the base of the fire and sweep from side to side.

Fire Extinguisher Classifications:
It is critical that the proper extinguisher be used. Not only might the fire not be extinguished, the flames could increase!
A: Ordinary combustibles--wood, paper, trash.
B: Greases, oils, gasoline, paint, etc.
C: Electrical wiring, plugs, equipment, etc.

Home Evacuation Plans:

Escape Tips—
You can't hide from a fire!
NEVER try to hide for a fire. Follow your escape plan to get out, and then stay out.
Crawl under smoke! If you run into smoke when you're escaping, try another way out. If you have to escape through the smoke, crawl on your hands and knees. Stay low, under the smoke--about 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 centimeters) above the floor.
Don't stop! When you hear a smoke alarm, leave the building. Don't try to save any toys or your pets. Go straight to your meeting place so adults know that you are safe. And, NEVER go back into a burning building for any reason.

Have a Exit Plan!
Develop a fire escape plan and conduct evacuation drills regularly (at least every
6 months). When fire detection warning devices activate, there are less than four minutes to escape.

Planning Your Evacuation:

1. Prepare carefully, perform regular drills, and place fire detection warning devices in appropriate places.

2. Make a drawing or floor plan of the home showing possible exits.

3. Show 2 avenues of escape from every room. If a window is high above the ground, you may need to buy a special fire escape ladder. Make sure windows can open (no painted or nailed shut).

4. Develop methods of alerting family members: smoke alarms, whistling, shouting and pounding on walls. Take special precautions for children and others requiring assistance.

5. Sleep with bedroom doors closed. This will keep out deadly smoke and heat, gases and increase available escape time.

6. Designate a safe meeting area after exiting the structure. DO NOT go back into a burning dwelling!

7. Use a neighbor's phone to call the fire department. Know the phone number!

8. Exit drills should include primary escape routes and meetings in the designated safe area.