National Preparedness Month: Home Fires


By: Michelle Fulleda


            Stop, drop and roll! It’s what you learned as a child and have remembered it ever since. Have you talked about fire safety since? Home fires are the most common disaster across the nation. The American Red Cross responded to more than 74,000 disasters in communities across the United States last year and 93 percent of these were fire related. Being Red Cross Ready includes knowing how to prevent a home fire and being prepared in case there is one.

             Good news, home fires are preventable! Knowing how to prevent a fire and having an evacuation plan can save your home and family. 65 percent of house fire deaths take place in homes with no working smoke alarms. A working smoke alarm significantly increases your chances of surviving a deadly home fire.


Prepare and Prevent a Home Fire

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends installing smoke alarms both inside and outside of sleeping areas. Test batteries monthly.
  • Keep flammable items at least three feet away from anything that gets hot.
  • If you smoke, smoke outside. Most home fires caused by smoking materials start inside the home. Put your cigarettes out in a can filled with sand.
  • Always be alert when you are cooking and if you need to step away from the kitchen, turn the stove off.
  • Talk to your children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches and lighters and keep them out of reach

Follow Your Escape Plan

            Remember to get out and STAY OUT and Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number.

  • If closed doors or handles are warm, use your second way out. Never open doors that are warm to the touch.
  • Crawl low under smoke.
  • Go to your outside meeting place and then call for help.

Fire Extinguisher Safety

            Use a portable fire extinguisher ONLY if you have been trained by the fire department, the fire is confined to a small area and is not growing, the room is not filled with smoke everyone has exited the building, the fire department has been called. 

Remember the word PASS when using a fire extinguisher:


Read about more great safety tips and steps at: (


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