SPhoto of a Safety Checklist

What is a "home fire safety check-up" and why does the Fire Department think it's important for us to conduct one?

  • The Fire Department recommends that citizens make periodic inspections of their homes in order to eliminate fire hazards that could spark costly fires. Ideally, these home fire safety check-ups should be made about twice a year and could easily be scheduled to coincide with home fire drills.
  • Often, the hazards that lead to fires can exist for a period of time, "right under our noses", so to speak, but somehow manage to escape our attention. Unfortunately, when a fire occurs, it's too late.

How do we go about performing a fire safety check-up of our home?

  • Your property can be divided into about seven "target areas." These include: Living rooms, family rooms, and dens; the kitchen; hallways; bedrooms; bathrooms; laundry/utility areas, garages/workshops; and yards.
  • Use the following checklist to identify places in your home where hazards may be found. Place a check mark besides the hazard and then correct it as soon as possible.

TARGET AREA NO. 1: Living rooms, family rooms, dens

TARGET HAZARDS (Check any of the following that are found):

___ ELECTRICAL: Faulty electrical items; cracked sockets; frayed cords; bare wires; cords run under furniture or rugs; numerous extension cords; burnt or melted cords, sockets or insulation; hot switch-plates.

___ FIREPLACE: No tight-fitting screen to cover fireplace opening; trash is sometimes burned in fireplace; combustibles placed too close to fireplace (papers, magazines, etc.); fireplace matches placed where little kids could get their hands on them; fireplace has heavy creosote buildup.

___ SMOKING MATERIALS: Matches and lighters are left in places where kids could get their hands on them; ashtrays are overflowing; evidence of careless smokers such as ashes and burn-holes in carpeting, rugs and furniture; smoking materials disposed of into plastic-lined receptacles.

___ SPACE HEATERS AND OTHER HEAT SOURCES: Furniture, drapes, and other home furnishings placed too close to heaters, space heaters, candles, etc. (Note: open-flame candles are not recommended by the Fire Department for use in people's homes for ANY reason.)

___ COLOR TV'S, VCR'S, ETC: TV's and VCR's are crowded up against cabinets and other home furnishings without sufficient air for circulation; combustibles are placed too close.

TARGET AREA NO. 2: The Kitchen

TARGET HAZARDS:

___ COOKING: Food is left cooking on the stove unattended; paper, cloth, plastic and other combustible items are left too close to the cooking area; cooking is often done with too high a flame; burners are left on under empty or near-empty pans; electrical appliances aren't working properly; people sometimes cook while wearing loose, flowing long-sleeved clothing; cooking grease, oil, or fat is sometimes left too close to the stove; coffee pots, electrical skillets, etc., are placed on counters in ways that allow little kids to grab hold of their cords; cooking is done with pot and pan handles turned outward rather than inward; there is a heavy odor of natural gas around gas appliances; kids are permitted to play in kitchen while cooking is being done; dish towels are sometimes used in place of potholders; there is no fire extinguisher or baking soda handy; greasy buildups can be found in range and hood and duct areas.

___ CLEANING MATERIALS, HOUSEHOLD CHEMICALS: Cleaning supplies and household chemicals are stored haphazardly where they could easily spill, become broken, dampened, contaminated, mixed together, deteriorate, or get into the hands of small children.

TARGET AREA NO. 3: Hallways

TARGET HAZARDS:

___ SMOKE ALARM(S): Smoke alarms are not tested and dusted monthly; batteries are not replaced at least annually (whether they need it or not!); if the main smoke alarm is electric, there is no battery-powered backup; household fire drills are not conducted twice a year (may coincide with a smoke alarm test); smoke alarm batteries are either dead or missing; there is no smoke alarm in the hallway outside each bedroom area; all persons in household and baby sitters, etc., have not learned the distinct sounds made by smoke alarm(s) and what they mean; no one takes the time to go over household fire escape plan with overnight visitors; hallway is partially blocked at times by furniture, storage or other items.

TARGET AREA NO. 4: Bedrooms

TARGET HAZARDS:

___ SMOKERS: Some people smoke in their bedrooms; ashtrays are overflowing; evidence is present of careless smoking (burn holes and ashes in carpeting, rugs, bedding, etc.); smoking materials are emptied into plastic or plastic-lined receptacles; matches and lighters are left lying around where little kids could get to them.

___ ELECTRICAL: Electrical items are malfunctioning; some items have frayed cords or cracked sockets; space heaters are placed too close to things that will burn; electric blankets are left wadded up and/or left on; bare light bulbs are too close to things that could catch fire; light switch-plates sometimes feel hot to the touch.

___ FIRE SAFETY: Second floor bedrooms do not have escape ladders handy; windows have become stuck and would have to be broken in order to escape; bars on windows that cannot be removed from the inside prevent use of windows for possible escape.

TARGET AREA NO. 5: Bathrooms

TARGET HAZARDS:

___ Small children are sometimes left unattended in the bath; some people smoke while using aerosols or sprays; some persons are careless with the use of electrical appliances around water; curling irons are sometimes left on; evidence of careless smoking can be found; matches and lighters are left lying around; things that will burn are crammed up against heaters.

TARGET AREA NO. 6: Laundry/Utility Areas, Garages/Workshops

TARGET HAZARDS:

___ GARAGES AND WORKSHOPS: There is no fire extinguisher present in an easily accessible place; gasoline, solvents, paints and thinners, etc., are stored carelessly with lids not on tightly, unapproved and/or damaged or corroding containers and too near possible ignition sources such as water heater pilot lights, spark-producing equipment, etc.; water heater is resting on floor; water heater is not strapped and/or otherwise secured in case of earthquake; more than one gallon of gasoline is being stored; gasoline is used to clean auto parts or other things; there are frayed cords present; numerous extension cords can be found; the workshop area is not kept completely free of dust, grease, sawdust and other combustible debris; greasy, oily rags are improperly stored in open, nonmetal containers; spray painting is sometimes done in the garage; there is a strong odor of gasoline or natural gas in the area; heavy accumulations of combustible storage such as boxes and cartons, old newspapers and magazines, etc.

___ LAUNDRY/UTILITY AREAS: Dryer lint system has not been properly cleaned; washer/dryer are jammed up against the wall without enough space for circulation, laundry materials are carelessly stored; combustibles are permitted too close to heat-generating parts/equipment; some gas or electrical appliances are not operating properly; water heater thermostat is set higher than 130 degrees; heater cabinet(s) are used for storage of combustibles; household chemicals are carelessly stored.

TARGET AREA NO. 7: Yards:

TARGET HAZARDS:

___ Accumulations of dry grass, weeds, debris, and rubbish in front, back, and/or side yards; propane containers are improperly stored and/or maintained; fireplace chimney has no spark arrester or an unmaintained spark arrester; wood fencing is in a state of disrepair; fireplace has loosened bricks or bricks missing; there is a strong odor of gas around the barbecue; barbecue grill has greasy deposits; charcoal is stored carelessly; liquid fire starters are present and/or are improperly stored.

OTHER HAZARDS TO CHECK ON: List any other possible hazards you may wish to check on here:

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