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It is Fire Prevention Week and with the quickly approaching holiday season coming our way, it is the right time to make sure that you have the appropriate fire safety protocols set in place. Because the next few months are filled with everyone’s favorite festivities like baking batch after batch of cookies, decorating the house with strings of lights, burning autumn-scented candles and finally firing up the heat, we unfortunately see more house fires during these months than any other time of the year. Simply setting aside 10 minutes to run through this short checklist will give you the peace of mind that you need to focus on what the holidays are all about – spending time with those that you love.

Check your smoke alarms. This seems like the most basic step of all and yet so many people fall victim to the effects of skipping this simple prevention measure. According to Property Casualty 360, nearly 40 percent of fire deaths in the U.S. are in homes without smoke alarms.

  • Smoke alarms should be tested monthly to make sure that they work. Change batteries as needed
  • Replace alarms every 10 years. (*If you don’t know the last time you replaced the alarm, remove from wall and check the manufacture date. If 10 or more years have passed, it’s time to purchase a new one.)
  • Make sure there is a working fire alarm in every bedroom, outside of every sleeping area and on every level of the home.

Cooking Safety. The number one cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking.

  • Remove any flammable objects in close range to the heat source
  • Make sure that stove top, cooking appliances and vents are clean and free of debris
  • Be present when anything is on the stove or oven. If you leave, turn the appliance off.

Heating Safety.

  • Make sure that your chimney and furnace are inspected and cleaned accordingly each year.
  • Remove any items that could catch fire such as furniture a minimum of 3 feet away from fireplaces, heaters and other heat sources.
  • Choose heaters that have the tip-over-shut-off function.

Candle Safety.

  • Choose candles in sturdy, fire-proof containers
  • Do not leave candles unattended and extinguish before going to bed
  • Do not leave candles in places that could be easily tipped over or easily accessible to kids and pets

Electrical Safety.

  • Only use one heat-producing appliance (toaster, space heater, etc.) in a single outlet at a time
  • Check cords for frays or tears
  • Do not run cords under rugs or across doorways
  • Plug large appliances such as refrigerator or washer and dryers into the wall receptacle rather than extension cords.
  • Use extension cords sparingly and not as a long-term fix.

Smoking Safety.

  • Buy fire safe cigarettes
  • Commit to only smoking outside
  • Keep ashtrays away from items that can easily catch fire
  • Remove lighters and matches from within reach of children

Implementing these simple protocols can keep your family safe by reducing your risk of a serious fire this holiday season. For the unfortunate times when smoke and fire damage can not be prevented, we are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us at for anytime fire damage or disaster restoration services (to read more about what to do and what NOT to do after a fire, view this ServiceMaster PDF by clicking here.)

To view the Fire Prevention Checklist, click here.