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Home Fire Safety

Home Fire Safety Checklist
Check our handy 100-point checklist for the most effective steps you can take to keep your home safe from fire and other causes of injury or damage.


  • Keep candles at least 12 inches from anything that can burn.
  • Use sturdy, safe candleholders.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended. Extinguish candles when you leave a room.
  • Be careful not to splatter wax when extinguishing a candle.
  • Avoid using candles in bedrooms and sleeping areas.
  • Always use a flashlight, not a candle, for emergency lighting.
  • Consider using battery-operated flameless candles.


Stay Alert

  • To prevent cooking fires, you must be alert. You won’t be alert if you are sleepy, have taken medicine or drugs, or consumed alcohol that makes you drowsy.

Watch what you heat!

  • The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.
  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short time, turn off the stove.
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while the food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.

Keep things that can catch fire and heat sources apart.

  • Keep anything that can catch fire – oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains – away from your stovetop.
  • Keep the stovetop, burners, and oven clean.
  • Wear short, close-fitting, or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and can catch fire if it comes in contact with a gas flame or electric burner.

Turkey Fryers

  • NFPA discourages the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers that immerse the turkey in hot oil. These turkey fryers use a substantial quantity of cooking oil at high temperatures, and units currently available for home use pose a significant danger that hot oil will be released at some point during the cooking process. The use of turkey fryers by consumers can lead to devastating burns, or other injuries and the destruction of property.


  • Make sure that your choice of heating equipment is permitted by law in your community. For example, kerosene heaters, chimneys, and fire pits are not allowed in all communities.
  • Make sure that your heating equipment has a label showing that it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters, or central equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
  • If possible, have a qualified professional install the equipment.
  • Make sure that all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside. Make sure that the venting for exhaust is kept clear and unobstructed. This includes the removal of snow around the outlet to the outside.
  • Install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional.
  • Space heaters need space. Keep all things that can burn, such as paper, bedding, or furniture, at least 3 feet away from heating equipment.
  • Supervise children when open fires and space heaters are being used and install a non-combustible screen around the appliance to prevent burns, which are even more common than fire injuries.
  • Cooking appliances should not be used to heat a home.
  • For fuel assistance, contact the National Fuel Funds Network at 1-202-824-0660. Contact local officials to find out if local weatherization programs are available in the community.


  • If you smoke, choose fire-safe cigarettes if they are available in your area. They are less likely to cause fires.
  • If you smoke, smoke outside.
  • Wherever you smoke, use deep, sturdy ashtrays.
  • Before you throw out butts and ashes, make sure that they are out, and dousing in water or sand is the best way to do it.
    • Never smoke where oxygen is being used.
    • Never smoke in bed.
    • Before going to bed, check under furniture cushions and in other places that people smoke for cigarette butts that may have fallen out of sight.
    • To prevent a deadly cigarette fire, you have to be alert. You won’t be if you are sleepy, or have taken medicine or drugs that make you drowsy.

Portable Space Heaters

  • Turn heaters off when you go to bed or leave the room.
  • Plug power cords only into outlets with sufficient capacity and never into an extension cord.
  • Inspect for cracked or frayed, broken plugs or loose connections. Replace before using.

Open Air Burning

  • Open-air burning is restricted in many areas of Utah. Call the local fire department or municipality before outdoor or open air burning, including brush fires, fire pits, and burn barrels.
  • Closely attend to all outdoor fires.
  • Use chimneys, outdoor fireplaces, and fire pits outdoors only and at least 10 feet away from the home or anything that can burn.

Fuel Burning Space Heaters

  • Always use the proper fuel as specified by the manufacturer.
  • When refueling, allow the appliance to cool and refuel outside or in a well-ventilated area.
  • When using the heater, open a window to ensure adequate venting.

Wood Burning Stoves and Fireplaces

  • Burn only dry, well-seasoned wood.
  • Use artificial logs according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Use only newspaper and kindling wood to start a fire. Never use flammable liquids, such as lighter fluid, kerosene, or gasoline to start a fire.
  • Have a sturdy screen on a fireplace.
  • Allow ashes to cool before disposing. Dispose of ashes in a metal container and keep the ash container at a safe distance from the home and any other nearby buildings.

Children and Fire Tools

  • Keep matches and lighters up high, out of the reach of children, preferably in a locked cabinet. It is an adult’s job to keep fire tools away from children.
  • If you feel you must keep matches or lighters more convenient, have only one lighter or matchbook and keep it securely with you at all times.
  • Teach young children to tell a grown-up if they find matches or lighters.
  • Lighters that look like toys can confuse children. Do not buy or use them.
  • If you are concerned about a child’s use of fire tools or interest in fire, please contact your local fire department to find a Juvenile Firesetter Program, a free and educational class.


Prevent scalds and burns in the kitchen.

  • Teach children that hot things burn.
  • Place objects so they cannot be pulled or knocked over.
  • Turn pot handles away from the stove’s edge.
  • Keep appliance cords coiled and away from counter edges.
  • Keep hot foods and liquids away from the table and counter edges.
  • Use dry oven mitts or potholders. The heat from hot cookware or tableware could turn that moisture into a scald burn.
  • If you have young children in the home cook on the stove back burners.
  • When children are old enough, teach them to cook safely.

Hot tap water and scald burns

  • Consider installing “anti-scald” devices on tub faucets and shower heads to prevent scalds. The temperature should not exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Or, adjust the thermostat setting on your water heater to no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The lower temperature lowers the risk of scalds and burns, but it also increases the risk of Legionnaire’s disease.

    — If you wish to lower the temperature setting on your water heater, you will need to test the temperature at the faucet. Allow water to run three to five minutes. Test the water with a meat, candy, or cooking thermometer. If the water is hotter than 120° degrees Fahrenheit, adjust the temperature of the water heater and wait a full day to allow the temperature in the tank to adjust. Retest and adjust as needed.

  • Before placing a child in the bath or getting into the tub yourself, test the water with your elbow, forearm, and back of the hand where you are more sensitive to heat.

For more great fire safety and fire prevention tips, view the National Messages Advisory Committee’s recommendations.