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Holiday Guide to Home Fire Safety

Home Fire Safety
Fire safety tips for around the home and in the kitchen.

The holidays have arrived, which means lots of time spent on food, family and fun. Fire safety might be the last thing on your mind, so the American Red Cross has you covered with top safety tips to avoid a home fire.

FIRE SAFETY IN THE KITCHEN Are you one of the nearly one in five Americans (16 percent) who admitted to leaving food cooking unattended on the stove in a recent Red Cross survey? Whether you’re whipping up sweet potatoes or homemade hot cocoa, keep these tips in mind when you’re in the kitchen:

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • Keep young children and pets at least three feet away from the stove.
  • Move items that can burn away from the stove such as dishtowels, bags and boxes.
  • Turn pot handles to the back of the stove to avoid spills.
  • Don’t wear loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.
  • Fires can start when the heat is too high. When frying food, turn the burner off if you see smoke or the grease starts to boil.
  • Do you know what to do if a cooking fire occurs?

  • If a pan catches fire, don’t move it. Slide a pan lid or cookie sheet on top of the pan to put out the fire. Turn off the heat. Keep the lid on the pan until it cools. Never try to stop a grease or oil fire with water – it will fuel the fire.
  • If something catches fire in the oven, keep the door closed. Call 9-1-1 so firefighters can make sure the fire didn’t spread to the walls.
  • If a fire occurs in the microwave, keep the door closed and unplug the microwave if you can. Don’t use it again until a repairman checks it.
  • If the kitchen catches fire, make sure everyone gets out and call 9-1-1 when outside. Once outside, stay out. Never go back inside a burning building.
  • FIRE SAFETY AROUND THE HOUSE While you may want to roast chestnuts, we recommend using a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace, instead of an open fire. Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces and chimneys inspected annually by a professional, and cleaned if necessary.

    As you’re lighting candles around the house, make sure to keep matches, lighters and other ignitable substances in a secured location out of the reach of children.

    Download the Red Cross First Aid App at to get access to life-saving information on what to do for common, everyday first aid emergencies including burns.

    NATIONWIDE CAMPAIGN Seven times a day someone in this country dies in a fire. The Red Cross has launched a nationwide campaign to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent over the next five years.

    The Red Cross also is asking every household in America to take the two simple steps that can save lives: checking their existing smoke alarms and practicing fire drills at home.

    You can help people affected by disasters like home fires and countless other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

    For more Red Cross fire safety and preparedness information, visit

    About the American Red Cross:
    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.