Have furnaces, chimneys, fireplaces, wood and coal stoves inspected and cleaned before another winter of use.
If using a space heater, look for a model that shuts off automatically if the heater falls over. Place the heater on a level, hard and nonflammable surface in the home.
Keep all potential sources of fuel like paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs at least three feet away from space heaters, stoves or fireplaces.
Portable heaters and fireplaces should never be left unattended. Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to bed or leaving home.
Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
Cut down on heating costs. Insulate the home by installing storm windows or covering the inside of windows with plastic to keep cold air out.
Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
Keep fire in your fireplace by using a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
Test batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Develop a fire escape plan and practice it with everyone who lives in the home.
Keep an eye on what you fry! Never leave cooking food unattended. If you must leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
Move items that can burn away from the stove. This includes dishtowels, bags, boxes, paper and curtains. Also keep children and pets at least three feet away.
Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.
When frying food, turn the burner off if you see smoke or if the grease starts to boil. Carefully remove the pan from the burner.
Keep a pan lid or a cookie sheet nearby. Use it to cover the pan if it catches on fire. This will put out the fire. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
Turn pot handles to the back of the stove, so no one bumps them or pulls them over.
Use a timer to remind yourself that the stove or oven is on. Check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving home to ensure all stoves, ovens and small appliances are turned off.
The Red Cross responds to more than 60,000 disasters every year and most of these are home fires.In a typical year, home fires kill more people in the United States than all other natural disasters combined. Please take these two steps now to help keep your household safe: Check your smoke alarms every month and practice your home fire escape plan at least twice a year.
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.