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Fire Safety Tips

The following information is compiled from information from the U.S. Fire Administration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Lafayette, Tennessee fire department. 

Please keep yourself, your family, your pets and your home safe from household fires!


Kerosene Heaters

  • Be sure kerosene heaters are legal in your area.
  • Use heaters only in well-ventilated rooms.
  • Place heaters where they will not be knocked over easily.
  • Do not use heaters to dry clothing or other items.
  • Keep heaters at a safe distance from curtains, furniture and other combustibles.
  • Fill only with K-1 kerosene.
  • Never use gasoline or camp stove fuel.
  • Be sure heater has an emergency shut off in case it tips over.
  • Inspect the exhaust for carbon build-up.
  • It is recommended to refill kerosene heaters outdoors and only when they are cool.
  • Use caution with cold fuel; it may expand in the tank as it warms up.
  • Keep kerosene in approved metal containers, in well-ventilated areas, outside the home.


Wood Stoves

  • Be sure wood stove is UL listed.
  • Make sure wood stove is properly installed.
  • Make sure wood stove is at least 36 inches from any combustible surface.
  • Use wood stoves only in well-ventilated rooms.
  • Do not use wood stoves to dry clothing or other items.
  • Only use seasoned wood.
  • Never burn green wood or trash.
  • Do not burn artificial logs in a wood stove.
  • Do not burn coal in a wood stove.
  • Do not use a flammable liquid to start or accelerate a fire.
  • Clean stove pipes and chimney on a regular basis.
  • Keep curtains, furniture and kindling away.


Fireplaces

  • Only use seasoned wood.
  • Never burn green wood or trash.
  • Artificial logs are made of sawdust and wax, and they burn hot. Read the package directions carefully. Do not poke logs apart. Never use more than one log at a time.
  • Do not place any combustible objects on the mantle.
  • Always use a protective screen. 
  • Before you go to bed, be sure the fireplace fire is out.
  • Never close the damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper will help the fire to heat up again and will force toxic carbon monoxide into the house.
  • Clean interiors, hearths and chimneys yearly.
  • Never discard hot ashes inside or near the home. Place them in a metal container outside and well away from the home.


Safe Cooking Practices

  • Don’t leave food unattended on the stove.
  • Make sure pot handles do not extend over the front of the stove where the pot can be knocked off.
  • Keep clothing away from burners.
  • Keep appliances clean and free of grease and crumbs.
  • Keep curtains and other combustibles away from the stove.
  • Make sure the stove is off before going to bed.


Charcoal Grills

  • Never use a charcoal grill indoors. It gives off deadly carbon monoxide.

Smoke Detectors

  • Place smoke detectors near bedrooms and on every floor. 
  • Keep smoke detectors away from air vents.
  • Test the batteries monthly.
  • Replace batteries on a regular basis (for example, when you reset your clocks twice a year.)
  • Consider installing a carbon monoxide detector.


Electrical Wiring

  • Replace wiring that is frayed or cracked.
  • Do not place wiring under rugs, over nails or in high-traffic areas. Avoid overloading outlets and make sure they are cool to the touch.
  • Make sure extension cords are rated for the load you are placing on them.


Electric Space Heaters

  • Place heaters where they will not be knocked over easily.
  • Do not use heaters to dry clothing or other items.
  • Keep heaters at a safe distance from curtains, furniture and other combustibles.
  • Plug heaters directly into a wall socket; do not plug into an extension cord.
  • Unplug heaters when they are not being used.
  • If cord is damaged, get it replaced, don’t just patch it.
  • Keep children and pets away from heaters.
  • Never use an electric space heater in the bathroom or near water.


Safe Smoking Habits

  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Keep ashtrays away from upholstered furniture and curtains.
  • Always attend burning cigarettes.


Children and Fire Safety

  • Keep lighters and matches away from children.
  • Teach children how to call for emergency assistance.
  • Use safety plugs over unused electrical outlets.


Home Fire Escape Plan

  • Sleep with bedroom doors closed.
  • Have an escape plan and make sure all family members know it.
  • Practice the plan every six months.
  • Keep emergency numbers, a whistle and a flashlight near the telephone.
  • Plan for an outside meeting place.
  • Never return to a burning building.
  • Know how to call for emergency assistance.
  • If windows are used for an escape route, make sure they open easily.
  • Consider purchasing home escape ladders.


Fire Extinguishers

  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy, especially in the kitchen.


Central Heating 

  • Make sure ducts and flue pipes are properly supported and in good condition.
  • Have an annual checkup of furnace heating controls. This should be done by a professional before the heating season begins.
  • Keep trash and other combustibles away from the heating system. 

Christmas Tree Safety

  • Natural trees should be cut at a 45 degree angle and placed in water.
  • Check water supply daily and refill as needed.
  • Keep tree away from sources of heat.
  • Use only non-flammable decorations.
  • Only use UL-approved Christmas tree lights.
  • Inspect lights for frayed wire or other defects before use.
  • Do not leave lights on unattended. 
  • If you have the old-fashioned kind of lights that get very hot, throw them away. Lights should be cool to the touch.
  • Never use candles on or around Christmas trees.
  • When the tree become dry, discard it promptly.


Candles

  • Never leave a lighted candle unattended. 
  • Be sure a candle cannot fall over and come in contact with a combustible object.
  • Keep children and pets away from candles.
  • Never use candles on or around Christmas trees.


Frozen Water Pipes

  • Never try to thaw frozen pipes with a blow torch.


Fire Hydrants

  • If you have a fire hydrant near your house, be sure people do not park too close. Also keep the hydrant clear of snow so it can be found if needed.


For More Information

  • For more information on home fire safety, please contact your local fire department.