Fire Safety & Injury Prevention

  • Always remember that a candle is an open flame, which means that it can easily ignite anything that can burn.
  • Candles should be your last resort for emergency lighting. Keep working flashlights on hand, as flashlights and battery-powered light sources are much safer for use as emergency lighting.
  • Most home candle fires start in the bedroom. Avoid the use of candles in bedrooms and other areas where people may fall asleep.
  • Keep objects that may catch fire away from candles (i.e. long hair, loose clothing, curtains, furniture, etc.)
  • Make sure candles are in holders or containers that are sturdy and won’t tip over easily. Candles should always be on sturdy, level surfaces and away from windows.
  • Extinguish all candles before leaving the home or going to sleep.
  • Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.
  • Never use a candle for light when checking pilot lights or fueling equipment such as a kerosene heater or lantern. The flame may ignite the fumes.
  • Never leave children or pets alone in a room with a burning candle.
  • Keep matches, lighters and other heat sources high and out of the reach of children.
  • Consider using flameless candles as a safer alternative.

NFPA Candle Fire Safety


  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • Wear short or close fitting sleeves. Loose clothing can catch fire.
  • Watch children closely. When old enough, teach them to cook safety.
  • Clean cooking surfaces to prevent food and grease build-up.
  • Keep curtains, towels pot holders and other flammable items away from stove surfaces.
  • Turn pan handles inward to prevent food spills.
  • Don’t overload electrical outlets. You might cause an electrical fire by plugging too many appliances into the same outlet.
  • Replace any cracked or frayed cords on appliances.

To Put Out a Cooking Fire in Your Kitchen

  • Slide a pan lid over flames to smother a grease or oil fire, then turn off the heat and leave the lid in place until the pan cools. Never carry the pan outside.
  • Keep the oven door shut and turn off the heat to smother an oven or broiler fire.
  • For microwave and toaster oven fires, keep the door closed and unplug the appliance. Call the fire department and make sure to have the oven serviced before you use it again.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Make sure you have a multipurpose ABC rated extinguisher and know how to use it.
  • For any fires that do not go out quickly, evacuate the area and call the fire department immediately.


  • Ensure that your barbecue is sound and in good working order.
  • Make sure the cooking site for the barbecue is flat and is away from sheds, fences, and overhanging branches.
  • Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings and out from under eaves.
  • Never use a barbecue indoors or in tents. This is a dangerous fire hazard and can cause high levels of carbon monoxide.
  • Keep children and outdoor games away from the cooking area. Never leave a barbecue unattended.
  • Light barbecues with a long match or mechanical lighter designed for lighting barbecues. Keep all matches, lighters and barbeque lighters out of the reach of children.
  • Use long-handled grilling tools to give the chef plenty of clearance from heat and flames.
  • Allow the barbecue to cool before attempting to move it.

Charcoal Briquette Barbecues

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Use only sufficient charcoal to cover the base of the barbecue to a depth of about 2 inches. Store extra charcoal in a metal container with a tight– fitting lid to keep it dry. Wet charcoal can spontaneously combust and start a fire.
  • Use only recognized charcoal starter fluid. Use lighter fluid on cold briquettes only and use the minimum quantity necessary to start the charcoal. Adding fluid to burning or hot coals can cause a flash fire and result in serious burn injuries.
  • When removing the ashes from the barbecue, make sure they are cool or put them into a non-flammable container such as a metal bucket. Water may be added to the cool ashes, remembering to stay back, away from potential hot steam. Empty spent ashes onto bare garden soil—do not put ashes into a garbage can or paper bag. House fires have been caused by hot ashes which later ignited when left on a deck or porch.

Gas Barbecues

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. To check the gas cylinder or pipe for leaks, brush soapy water around all joints and watch for bubbles. If you find a leaky joint, try to tighten, but do not over tighten. If ever in doubt about the integrity of your gas cylinder, have it tested. Never use gas cylinders that are past their legal use date.
  • Open the barbecue lid before turning on the gas or lighting.
  • When you have finished cooking with a gas barbecue, turn off the gas cylinder.
  • Change gas cylinders in the open air, not in a confined space. Avoid storing gas cylinders indoors and never in basements.

NFPA Cooking Safety

NFPA Grilling Safety Tips

  • Always use generators outside away from doors, windows and vents. NEVER use generators inside buildings or partially enclosed areas, even with ventilation.
  • Follow all manufactures’ instructions for use.
  • Keep generator dry. Place on a dry surface under an open, canopy-like structure.
  • Dry hands before touching the generator.
  • Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open.
  • Place generator so that exhaust fumes can’t enter the home through windows, doors or other openings in the building.
  • Never plug the generator into a wall outlet. This can cause utility workers and others using the same transformer to receive a shock and die because of the electricity.
  • Extension cord should be heavy-duty outdoor-rated. Make sure the entire cord is free of cuts or tears and the plug has all three prongs; especially a grounding plug.
  • If you must connect a generator to house wiring, have a licensed electrician add the appropriate equipment. Your utility company may be able put in an appropriate transfer switch as well.
  • Turn off generators and let them cool down before refueling. Never refuel a generator while it is running.
  • Store fuel for the generator in a container that is intended for the purpose and is correctly labeled as such. Store the container outside of living areas and away from fuel-burning appliances.

American Red Cross - Safe Generator Use

NFPA Generator Safety Tips

In the Kitchen & Dining Room

  • Use oven mitts or hot pads when cooking.
  • Turn pot handles inward.
  • Thoroughly stir all microwave foods and liquids.
  • Never heat baby bottles in a microwave.
  • Avoid having area rugs in the kitchen.
  • Establish and enforce a “no kids” zone in the kitchen, including the stove and sink area.
  • Do not use deep fryers around children.
  • Do not handle, eat or drink hot items while holding children.
  • Test heated foods and liquids before serving to children.
  • Keep hot foods and liquids away from the edges of counters or tables.
  • If clothing catches on fire, “Stop, Drop and Roll” – Do not run, this only fans the flames. Stop where you are, drop to the ground and roll over and over to smother the flames. Cover your face with your hands to protect it, as well as to shield your throat and lungs from burns. If someone else’s clothes are on fire, push them to the ground and roll them over and over, or smother the flames with a blanket, a rug or a coat.
  • Cool a burn with running water.
  • If someone gets burned, run cool water over the burn for 5 to 10 minutes. This will prevent continued burning and relieve some of the pain.
  • If the burn is blistered, see a doctor as soon as possible. Burns may be worse than they seem at first.
  • If the burn is charred, involves the face, or is larger than 5% of the body, call 911.

In the Bathroom

  • Set the water heater temperature to 120*F(49*C)
  • When filling the bathtub, run cold water first, and mix in warmer water.
  • Before placing a child in the bathtub, check the water temperature by rapidly moving your hand through the water. If the water feels hot to an adult, it is too hot for a child.
  • In the bathtub, face the child away from the faucets.
  • Use childproof knob covers on faucets.
  • Always supervise children in the bath. Do not leave them alone.

Safe Kids Burns and Scalds Prevention Tips

NFPA Scald Prevention

Boating Fire Safety


  • Be an educated boater. Take safety courses that include first aid, fire extinguisher use, navigation and safe boating.
  • If going boating by yourself, notify a family member or friend of your plans.
  • Always be sure someone on your vessel can operate the boat or communications radio in case you become incapacitated.


  • Maintenance is paramount in keeping a boat fire safe. Keep you boat’s engine in good repair. Trouble spots in an engine compartment are leaks in fuel lines and end fittings, frayed wiring and rigged electrical systems.
  • Keep the bilge clean and dry. If you smell fumes at any time other than when you are fueling, find out why right away. Fix electrical problems promptly and professionally.
  • Heat – Do not use portable electric or propane heaters. The fire hazard is too great.
  • Storage – Keep aisle ways clear. Store fuel powered equipment in a separate storage area vented to the outside.
  • Refueling – Fires that occur during refueling can usually be prevented if the boater is careful not to spill the fuel or overfill the tanks. Let the engine cool and turn off the electrical systems before refueling. Use a funnel so you won’t spill gasoline if a sudden wave tips the boat. Extinguish all smoking material.
  • Ventilation – Comply with Coast Guard ventilation standards. Gasoline vapors can explode. Before starting the engine, operate blower for 4 minutes. Check engine compartment bilge for gas vapors.
  • Batteries – Ensure proper installation and inspection of all batteries according to manufacturer’s instructions. Overcharging and overheating are the two main mistakes that damage batteries.


  • Fire extinguishers - A multi-purpose ABC fire extinguisher that can be used on all types of fires is the best extinguisher option because a variety of fuels may be present. A combination ABC extinguisher can be used on flammable liquids and electrical fires, as well as wood, paper, plastics or rubber.
  • Emergency procedures - In a fire emergency, early access to emergency assistance is critical. Have a means of communication available at all times.

U.S. Coast Guard's Boating Safety Division