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How can I prevent a house fire?

According to, “In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening.  In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames.”  To prevent a fire from happening in your home, practice these daily steps and learn how to be prepared if one does happen. Cooking safety Safety while cooking is one of the easiest ways that you can prevent a home fire.  Many times, fires are caused in the kitchen because of pots and pans left unattended over an active stove, too-hot cooking, and wearing loose clothing when cooking.  If you get interrupted and are pulled away from cooking, turn off the stove and remove the pot or pan from the hot burner before you walk away. Roll up your sleeves tight when you are cooking and avoid wearing loose-fitting clothes that could potentially catch on fire.  Fires can also be caused when cooking outside on the grill.  Make sure that grills are at least 10 feet away from any part of the house. Check out our article on grilling safety tips to learn more. Electrical safety Do you live in an older home?  Do you have flickering lights or outlets that won’t hold in a plug?  These are all indications that you should hire a professional electrician to inspect your electrical wiring and possibly replace any outdated or frayed wiring.  Frayed wires can also be an issue with appliances.  Stop using appliances immediately if the wires are frayed, and either replace the damaged cords or completely replace the appliance.  To learn more on electrical safety, jump on over to our  Insurance 101 article on electrical safety. Keeping safe with heating sources The many different heating sources pose their own threat of fire, but some of the most dangerous sources are portable space heaters, fireplaces and woodstoves. Go here to read more on portable space heater safety.  If you have a woodstove or fireplace, please be sure to cozy up with this article to learn more on maintaining a safe household with this heating source. Preventative measures with smoking Smoking is not only harmful to your health, it is also a major fire hazard.  The most effective way to avoid a home-structure fire due to smoking is to smoke outside.  Don’t just throw your cigarette butts on the ground; make sure they are completely snuffed out when disposing of them, like in an ashtray or sand-filled can.  To ensure that the cigarette butts and ashes are no longer hot enough to cause a fire, soak them in water prior to throwing them away.  If you must smoke in the house, make sure no oxygen is being used in the home, as oxygen is a key ingredient in igniting fire. Talk to your children Children have very curious minds and they often find fire to be an unknown they need to explore.  Teach your children that fire is not to be played with.   Explain to them the dangers of fire and what can cause it.  It is also a good idea to practice your family’s evacuation plan with your children and introduce them to firefighters. What to do if a fire breaks out in your home Know what to do in the event a fire does happen in your home.  The National Fire Protection Association recommends the following:
  1. Get out! And make sure you close the door behind you to contain the fire.
  2. After you are out of the house, call 9-1-1.
  3. If you decide to fight the fire, be sure others in the house are getting out.
  4. Keep a lid nearby to smother small grease fires – slide the lid over the pan, turn off the stovetop, and leave covered until the pan is completely cooled down.
  5. If you experience an oven fire, turn off the oven and keep the oven door closed.
  Sources:, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA),