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51 Fire Prevention Tips to Keep Your Family and Your Property Safe

January 24, 2024

Home fires tend to peak in December and January, especially as families put up natural holiday trees, crank up their heating systems, warm up near fireplaces and pull out their space heaters. From 2016 to 2020, 46 percent of home structure fires and 55 percent of home structure deaths occurred from November to March.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, most home fires and fire casualties resulted from one of the following causes: cooking, heating equipment, electric distribution and lighting equipment, smoking materials and intentional fire setting. Kitchens were the leading area of origin for home fires and injuries, but fires in the living room were more likely to cause death than fires in other areas of the home.

In fact, following a string of house fires in central Indiana in December 2023 – including two deaths in three separate fires in less than 24 hours – the Indianapolis Fire Department urged the public to keep fire safety prevention in mind. In a report by WTHR, Battalion Chief Rita Reith noted that having faulty smoke alarms or items near space heaters are common causes of fires.

In addition to addressing these issues, there are many things you can do to prevent fires in your home. The following list of fire prevention tips is compiled from the U.S. Fire Administration, American Red Cross and several firefighting organizations.

51 Fire Prevention Tips to Keep in Mind…

In the Kitchen

  1. Never use an extension cord with a major appliance. The extension cord can overheat and start a fire.
  2. Unplug small appliances when you are not using them.
  3. Stand by your pan. If you leave the kitchen, turn the burner off.
  4. Watch what you are cooking. Fires start when the heat is too high. If you see any smoke or the grease starts to boil, turn the burner off.
  5. Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove – but not directly over another burner – so that no one can bump them or pull them over.
  6. Keep a pan lid or baking sheet nearby that you can use to cover a pan if it catches fire, which would put out the fire.
  7. If you are cooking and a fire starts in a pan, slide a lid over the burning pan and turn off the burner. Leave the lid in place until the pan is completely cool. Moving the pan can cause serious injury or spread the fire.
  8. Never use an oven to heat your home.
  9. Keep pets off cooking surfaces and countertops.
  10. Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. Stay in the home while simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food.
  11. Keep the stove area clean and clear of things that can catch fire, such as potholders, towels, curtains and other appliances.
  12. Never pour water on grease fires.

In Bedrooms, Bathrooms, Hallways and Other Living Spaces

  1. Don’t use lit candles in bedrooms, bathrooms and sleeping areas.
  2. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
  3. Install a carbon monoxide alarm in a central location outside each separate sleeping area.
A smoke alarm/carbon monoxide detector is tested.
Test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors monthly.

In the Garage

  1. Keep items that can burn on shelves away from appliances.
  2. Don’t use an extension cord when charging an appliance.
  3. Plug only one charging appliance into an outlet.
  4. A 20-minute fire-rated door that is self-closing and self-latching from the garage into the house should be installed.
  5. Use a heat alarm – not a smoke alarm – in your garage. The heat alarm will sound if the temperature rises too high.

In the Basement

  1. Install a smoke alarm in the basement. Test the alarm each month and clean as needed. The basement smoke alarm should be connected to other smoke alarms in your home.
  2. Keep flammable materials away from heating equipment.
  3. Do not store trash in the basement.

In the Attic

  1. Regularly clean vents, and remove any excess lint or debris in the attic.
  2. Avoid storing flammable materials in the attic.
  3. Promptly address leaks in the roof, as the water could compromise electrical components in the attic.
  4. Unplug devices and appliances that are not in use.

In the Laundry Room

  1. Remove lint from the dryer’s lint screen after every load.
  2. Washers and dryers should be plugged directly into wall outlets.


  1. Have chimneys cleaned and inspected each year by a professional.
  2. Don’t fuel your generator while it is running. Spilling gas on a hot engine can cause a fire.
  3. Store oil, gasoline, paints, propane and varnishes in a shed away from your home.
A fire extinguisher is examined.
Keep fire extinguishers easily accessible in every level of your home and in the garage.

Anywhere in the Home

  1. Clean and maintain heating equipment, such as by replacing dirty filters.
  2. Keep oily rags in airtight containers and away from heat sources.
  3. Don’t put lithium-ion batteries in the trash. Recycle them at your local battery recycling location.
  4. Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that burns.
  5. Consider using battery-operated flameless candles instead of traditional candles.
  6. 38. Use flashlights when the power is out, not candles.
  7. Never leave a burning candle unattended.
  8. Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from all heat sources, including fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators and space heaters.
  9. Turn space heaters off when leaving the room or going to sleep.
  10. Follow the instructions on the label when you use and store household chemicals. Don’t mix hazardous materials, as this can cause deadly gases.
  11. Never store flammable materials in direct sunlight.
  12. Fix or replace frayed extension cords, exposed wires or loose plugs.
  13. Avoid overloading outlets or extension cords.
  14. Create a fire escape plan, talk with your family members about it and practice it twice a year.
  15. If you smoke, take precautions (smoke outside, use deep ashtrays, douse cigarette butts with water before disposal, don’t smoke in bed, don’t smoke if anyone in the home is using oxygen, etc.).
  16. Keep fire extinguishers on every level of your home and easily accessible. Ensure that everyone in your home knows how to operate them in the event of a fire.
  17. Test smoke alarms every month.
  18. Replace smoke alarm batteries at least once a year.
  19. Replace alarms every 10 years.