Is your home fire-safe? Use this checklist to make sure your home is free of hidden fire hazards.


  • Don't store paper towels, dish towels or other flammable items near the stove.
  • Maintain a kid-free safety zone three feet around the stove when you're cooking.
  • Don't leave cooking food unattended on the stovetop or under the broiler.
  • Keep the oven and stovetop free of grease build-up.
  • Turn pot handles toward the center of the stove.
  • Store matches and lighters out of children's reach.

Living Room

  • Keep all flammable items at least three feet from the fireplace.
  • Have your chimney cleaned and inspected annually.
  • Use a fireproof screen in front of your fireplace.
  • Replace halogen torchiere lamps with incandescent or fluorescent lights.
  • Keep lamps and candles away from drapes and fabrics.
  • Replace frayed or damaged electrical cords.


  • Don't drape scarves or clothing over lamps.
  • Never set heavy objects on top of electric blankets that are in use.
  • Keep space heaters at least three feet from bedding, furniture and other flammable items.
  • Don't run extension cords under rugs.
  • Be sure electrical cords are not pinched by doors, cabinets or under furniture.
  • Never leave candles unattended.
  • Don't use space heaters while sleeping.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Be sure secondary exits such as windows are not blocked by furniture.


  • Don't overload outlets with too many appliances.
  • Keep curling irons, hair dryers and other hot appliances away from flammable materials.

Laundry Room

  • Clean your dryer's lint filter before each use.
  • Shut off the dryer whenever you leave your house.
  • Keep clothing and other flammable materials at least one foot from the dryer, if possible.
  • Unplug the iron when it's not in use.


  • Have your furnace cleaned and inspected annually.
  • Don't store paint, old newspapers, or other flammables near the furnace or hot water heater.

Patio and Garage

  • Position your grill away from siding, wooden railings and overhanging branches.
  • Never add lighter fluid after the coals have been lit.
  • Allow coals to cool completely in the grill before you dispose of them.
  • Store the lawnmower and gas can away from heat sources.
  • Keep oily rags in airtight metal containers.

Originally published in conjunction with the December 2008 issue of Parents magazine.

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