Fire Prevention Week

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), more than a million fires are reported annually in the United States, causing thousands of deaths and injuries and billions of dollars in property damage. While the majority of reported fires occur outside, structure fires, including home fires, are responsible for the highest numbers of deaths, injuries, and damage. 

Fire Prevention Week is the oldest public health observance on record in the United States. The observance, celebrated every October, is dedicated to educating people about the causes of home fires and the ways these and other fires can be prevented.

Fire Safety Tips

Home Fires

  • Make sure smoke alarms are installed properly, and test them every month by pushing the test button. If you don't hear anything when you push the test button, replace the battery. If you still don't hear anything after replacing the battery, replace the smoke alarm with a new one.
  • Make sure your home is properly equipped with fire extinguishers.
  • Create a Fire Escape Plan and keep it posted in a place where the whole family can see it. Practice the plan with your children to make sure they are familiar with where to go and what to do.
  • When cooking, stay alert, stay in the kitchen, and keep anything that can catch fire (dish towels, oven mitts, etc.) away from your stovetop.
  • Never smoke in bed, and keep lighters and matches away from kids.
  • Make sure matches, cigarettes, etc. are fully extinguished before throwing them away.
  • Keep space heaters at least 3 feet from a flammable source, and do not leave fireplaces unattended.
  • Do not use damaged electrical cords or plug too many devices into outlets.
  • If you live in an apartment building or condominium, make sure you know the quickest escape routes from your home.

Outdoor Fires

Grilling, camping, Fourth of July fireworks --- outside fires are often started accidentally because of mistakes made during these activities. Follow these tips from the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) to help you enjoy outside fires of all kinds safely.

  • Keep a 3-foot safe zone around your grill to protect kids and pets.
  • Place your grill away from siding, deck railings, eaves, and overhanging branches.
  • Don't leave your grill unattended.
  • Build campfires at least 25 feet away from tents, shrubs, and other flammable materials.
  • Fire pits and outdoor fireplaces should be at least 10 feet away from your home.
  • When setting off fireworks, keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire.
  • Monitor wildfires in your area, create a Wildfire Action Plan for your family, and make sure you're ready to evacuate as soon as possible.
  • Pay attention to "burn bans" or burn restrictions in your area, especially during times of drought. Check with the Alabama Forestry Commission and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management for up-to-date information on burn restrictions.

Fire Safety for Kids

Talk to your children about the importance of being safe around stoves, fireplaces, and outdoor fires, and make sure they know where to go and what to do in the event a fire breaks out at home or school.