Prevent Home Fires - Fire Prevention Week 2008

October 5 - 11, 2008

Each year, the week surrounding the date of October 9th is celebrated as National Fire Prevention Week. Why October 9th? The date commemorates the infamous “Great Chicago Fire” of 1871 that killed 250 people and destroyed over 17,000 homes.

CAL FIRE responds to over 300,000 emergencies and calls for service each year. Over 5,000 of these emergencies are fires inside homes and other buildings. That’s why the theme of Fire Prevention Week 2008 is “Prevent Home Fires!”

From October 5-11, 2008, CAL FIRE and fire departments across the country will be encouraging their communities to check their homes for fire hazards. With a little extra caution, preventing the leading causes of home fires – cooking, heating, electrical and smoking-materials – is within their power.

Cooking with Care

1. Cooking with Care

  • Never leave the kitchen unattended while frying, grilling, broiling or boiling food.
  • Keep children away from ovens, stoves and other sources of heat.
  • Make sure you have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen that is within 10 feet of your stove.
  • Keep flammable materials away from the stove top: paper, plastic, wood, curtains etc.
Home Heating

2. Home Heating

  • Install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms to avoid risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Keep all things that can burn, such as paper, bedding or furniture, at least 3 feet away from heating equipment.
  • Turn portable space heaters off when you go to bed or leave the room.
Everyday Electrical Safety

3. Everyday Electrical Safety

  • Keep lamps, light fixtures, and light bulbs away from anything that can burn, such as lamp shades, bedding, curtains, and clothing.
  • Replace cracked and damaged electrical cords.
  • Never use extension cords for permanent wiring. Consider having additional circuits or receptacles added by a qualified electrician.
  • Homes with young children should have tamper-resistant electrical receptacles.
Strike Out Smoking-materials Fires

4. Strike Out Smoking Related Fires

  • If you smoke, smoke outside.
  • If you smoke, choose fire-safe cigarettes.
  • Wherever you smoke, use deep, sturdy ashtrays.
  • Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used.
  • Keep matches and lighters up high in a locked cabinet, out of the reach of children.
Caution with Candles

5. Caution with Candles

  • Keep candles at least 12 inches form anything that can burn.
  • Use sturdy, safe candleholders.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended. Blow out candles when you leave a room.
  • Avoid using candles in bedrooms and sleeping areas.
  • Use flashlights for emergency lighting.
Safety 101

6. Safety 101

  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month.
  • Replace batteries in smoke alarms twice a year.
  • Replace smoke alarms every 10 years.
  • Have a home fire escape plan. Know at least two ways out of every room, if possible, and a meeting place outside. Practice your escape plan twice a year.
  • When the smoke alarm sounds, get out and stay out.


Your home should be a safe haven. Take the time now during Fire Prevention Week to make yourself fire safe.


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