It’s National Fire Safety Week! Follow These Tips to Prevent a House Fire

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), roughly half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep. But, having a working smoke alarm can cut this risk in half. This week is National Fire Safety Week and this year’s theme is “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep”. The goal is to promote installing a functioning smoke alarm in every bedroom of your house. Here are some facts about the fire from the NFPA:Fire Safety


  • One-quarter of home fire deaths were caused by fires that started in the bedroom. Another quarter resulted from fires in the living room, family room or den.
  • Three out of five fire deaths happen from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms
  • Home fires killed an average of eight people every day in 2013
  • Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fire injuries, followed by heating equipment
  • Smoking materials are the leading cause of home fire deaths



  • In fires considered large enough to activate the smoke alarm, hard-wired alarms operated 93% of the time, while battery powered alarms operated only 79% of the time.
  • When smoke alarms fail to operate, it’s usually because batteries are missing, disconnected or dead.



  • Only one-third of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.



  • Fire departments responded to an annual average of 156,600 cooking-related fires between 2007-2011
  • Two of every five home fires start in the kitchen. Unattended cooking was a factor in one-third of reported home cooking fires.
  • Two-thirds of home cooking fires started with ignition of food or other cooking materials
  • Ranges accounted for almost 57% of home cooking fire incidents; ovens accounted for 16%
  • Failure to clean was a factor contributing to ignition in 17% of reported home fires involving ovens or rotisseries



  • The leading factor contributing to heating equipment fires was a failure to clean. It usually involved creosote build-up in chimneys.
  • Just over half of home heating fire deaths resulted from fires caused by heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses or bedding.
  • Heating equipment, such as space heaters, is the second leading cause of home fires, fire deaths, and fire injuries



  • About half (48 percent) of home electrical fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment. Other leading types of equipment were washer or dryer, fan, portable or stationary space heater, air conditioning equipment water heater and range.
  • Electrical failure or malfunctions caused an average of 47,800 home fires per year in 2007-2011, resulting in an average of 450 deaths and $1.5 billion in direct property damage.



  • During 2007-2011, candles caused 3% of home fires, 4% of home fire deaths, 7% of home fire injuries, and 6% of direct property damage from home fires
  • On average, there are 29 home candle fires reported per day; more than one-third started in the bedroom
  • Nearly three in five candle fires start when things that can burn are too close to the candle
  • Falling asleep was a factor in 11% of the home candle fires and 37% of the associated deaths

Below are preventative measures, taken from the NFPA, to help prevent you from becoming a statistic:



  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas
  • Test smoke alarms once a month; change the batteries if they are not working
  • Replace smoke alarms every 10 years
  • Carbon monoxide alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms. Know the difference between the sound of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Interconnect smoke alarms throughout your home so when one sounds, they all sound
  • Replace batteries twice a year when we change our clocks
  • Make sure everyone in the home knows the sound of the smoke alarm and understands what to do when they hear it
  • When the smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside



  • Make sure everyone knows where to meet outside in case of fire
  • Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year and at different times of the day
  • Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire



  • Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • Stay in the home while simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food. Check it regularly and use a timer to remind you that food is cooking.
  • Keep potholders, towels, plastic and clothing away from the stove
  • Keep pets off cooking surfaces and countertops to prevent them from knocking things onto the burner


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(Article reproduced from NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week website,