September 25, 2019

Fire Prevention Week is ideal time to make your home safe for heating season and approaching holidays

National Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 6 – 12, emphasizes practicing how your family would escape a blaze at home

It may still feel like August, but October is just around the corner, which means it’s time to prepare your household for the heating season and the approaching holidays. Oct. 6-12 is Fire Prevention Week in the U.S., sponsored by the NFPA. This year's theme is "Plan and Practice Your Escape.” 

In 2017, U.S. fire departments responded to 357,000 home structure fires, which caused 2,630 deaths and 10,600 injuries, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Across the nation, an average of seven people died in a fire in a home each day from 2012 to 2016. 

Heating equipment is involved in one in every five home-fire deaths in the U.S. Each year, space heaters cause about one-third of home-heating fires and 80 percent of home-heating fire deaths.

“Fall is a time when taking simple steps and reviewing basic safety advice can really help reduce the risk of fires and save lives,” State Fire Marshal Tim Bean said. “Fall means heating homes, using fireplaces, additional cooking and entertaining for the holidays. All these factors raise the risk of fires and the need to think of safety.” The fire marshal provided these heating safety tips:

  • Keep at least a three-foot safety zone around heating equipment. This means nothing flammable (including drapes, furniture and electronics), and no children within that three-foot zone.
  • Never leave space heaters on when people leave a room or go to bed.
  • Always use only the type of fuel specified by the manufacturer for fuel-burning space heaters.
  • Never use ovens or other devices not intended to heat homes to try to warm your house.

Home fire escape planning and drills are essential to fire safety. The fire escape plan should be practiced regularly so that every family member – including young children – knows two ways out of every room in the home. The fire marshal provided these fire escape planning tips:

  • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you cannot help them.
  • Establish an outside meeting place away from the home where everyone will gather after exiting the home.
  • Practice what to do in case there is smoke: “Get low and go.”
  • Practice using different ways out and closing doors behind you as you leave.

Thanksgiving is the leading day for fires involving cooking equipment, but did you know that year-round cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries? The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking:

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, boiling, grilling, or broiling food.
  • If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly and stay in the home.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire away from the stovetop.

The end of Daylight Saving Time, 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, when clocks are adjusted to “fall back” an hour, can serve as an easy reminder to change smoke and CO alarm batteries once a year. Remember, when you change the time, change the batteries. Always have properly installed and maintained smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

More tips on a variety of fire safety topics are available on the Division of Fire Safety website at:


For more information, call 573-751-5432 or e-mail