You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Follow Red Cross Tips When Heating Your Home

Fire Safety

With negative temperatures and even lower wind chills throughout much of the Midwest and Northeast, it is important that families and individuals remain vigilant in practicing home fire safety. Although rarely making headlines, home fires are the most common disaster the Red Cross responds to, sending volunteers to the scene of fires at all hours of the day and night to help those affected.


As residents keep warm during these cold days, keep in mind that heating fires are the second leading cause of home fires. Take a minute to review safety tips that will help prevent a fire in your home.


Home Fire Safety Tips

  • Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as space heaters.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Talk to your children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches and lighters and keep them out of reach.
  • Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep.


The most effective way to protect yourself and your home from fire is to identify and remove fire hazards. About 65 percent of house fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarms. During a home fire, working smoke alarms can save lives.


Smoke Alarm Safety Tips

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
  • Teach your children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.
  • Once a month check whether each alarm in the home is working properly by pushing the test button.
  • Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. Immediately install a new battery if an alarm chirps, warning the battery is low.
  • Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. Never disable smoke or carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Carbon monoxide alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms. Know the difference between the sound of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.


For more information on home fire safety, download the American Red Cross First Aid App, which provides tips on how to prevent home fires and on severe winter weather safety. This free app is available on the Apple iTunes or Google Playstores. Find all of the Red Cross apps at