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.
- 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.
- 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.