Hunting for Home Hazards

Tips for Reducing Hazards in Your Home

  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for plugging an appliance into a receptacle outlet (most receptacle outlets contain two receptacles). As an added precaution, avoid plugging more than one high-wattage appliance into a single receptacle.
  • Give space heaters plenty of space. Space heaters should be at least three feet (one meter) away from anything that could burn. Always make sure to turn heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • If there are smokers in your home, make sure ashtrays are large and deep and won't tip over. Douse cigarette and cigar butts with water before discarding them.
  • In homes with small children, receptacle outlets should have plastic safety covers.
  • In the hands of an adult who knows how to use it, a portable fire extinguisher can save lives and minimize property damage by putting out a small fire or containing it until the Fire Department arrives. But never forget that fire spreads rapidly. Your first priority should always be to get out of the house.
  • Keep cooking areas clean and clear of materials that could catch fire, such as pot-holders, towels, rags, drapes and food packaging. Read NFPA´s cooking safety fact sheet.
  • Keep matches and lighters up high and out of children's sight and reach – preferably in a locked cabinet.
  • Liquids like gasoline, kerosene, and propane are highly flammable. Make sure to store these liquids outside the home in a properly ventilated shed or garage. Store them only in small quantities and in their original containers or in safety containers. Never bring even a small amount of gasoline indoors. The vapors are highly flammable and can be ignited by a tiny spark.
  • Lit candles should be monitored constantly by an adult and extinguished when adults leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Never leave cooking food on the stovetop unattended, and keep a close eye on food cooking inside the oven.
  • Solid-fueled heating equipment, including chimneys, chimney connectors, fireplaces, and wood or coal stoves should be inspected by a professional every year and cleaned as often as necessary.This also applies to all other types of fueled heating equipment, including central furnaces and space heaters.
  • Never leave children alone with burning candles. NFPA recommends against allowing children to have candles in their bedrooms.
  • Replace or repair any electrical device with a loose, frayed, or broken cord.
  • To reduce the risk of electrical shock, install GFCIs (ground-fault circuit-interrupters). GFCIs shut off faulty electrical circuits and equipment more quickly than conventional fuses or circuit breakers. The devices are inexpensive and can be hard-wired into your home's electrical system by a professional electrician.
  • Unwanted electrical arcing, often occurring in damaged wires or cords, can generate high temperatures and cause a fire. AFCIs (arc-fault circuit-interrupters) protect against fire by continuously monitoring the electrical current in a circuit and will shut off a circuit when an unwanted arcing fault is detected. (The National Electrical Code® requires AFCIs in bedrooms of new residential construction.)
  • Use candleholders that won't tip over easily, are made of non-combustible materials, and are big enough to catch dripping wax safely.