Home Fire Safety Tips

Home Fire Safety Starts With You!

Many injuries, death and loss of property can be prevented by mitigating the hazard or by planning for an emergency before it occurs. A home safety audit is an excellent way to identify hazards in your home and make assessments on how well you and your family are prepared for a home emergency. A home safety audit gives you an opportunity to eliminate safety problems and make corrections before an emergency occurs. Be proactive and take the time now to plan for safety and help make 2012 a safe year for you and your family.

For a free Home Safety Checklist, please call the Owatonna Fire Department at 507-444-2454 or download here.


A home safety audit starts by walking through your home and completing an inspection looking specifically at home safety. Look at each major room of your home and learn how to make it safer for every member of your family. We've listed all recommendations for the safety features and equipment each room should ideally contain.

Home Safety Audit Recommendations:

Click on a topic of interest

Getting Help During an Emergency
Smoke Alarms
Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Fire Extinguishers
Home Safety with Entry and Egress
Home Safety in Living, Dining and Family Rooms
Safety in the Kitchen
Safety in Bath Areas
Furnace and Utility Room Safety
Safety in Bedroom Areas
Safety in the Garage
Severe Weather Safety - NOAA Weather Radios
Preparing for a Disaster - Home Disaster Supply Kit


Getting Help During an Emergency

  • Teach all Family members 911.
  • Does everyone in your home know "STOP, DROP and ROLL" if their clothes catch on fire?
  • Post your address by your phone
  • Is your address posted and visible?
  • Discuss Safety with baby sitters so they know your address and how to use 911.
  • Keep fire hydrants accessible and clear snow. Shovel an area three feet around the hydrant so it can be accessed by firefighters from the street.
  • Clear snow and ice from driveways, steps and walkways.
  • Develop a Home Escape Plan. Discuss the plan with your family and rehearse it together so that each member understands the importance of a safe escape. Discuss a meeting location where your family should meet after they exit the home.
  • Remember to stay low and go under smoke when escaping a fire.

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Smoke Alarms

  • Do you have a smoke alarm on every level of your home?
  • Do you have a smoke alarm in every sleeping area?
  • Do you have a smoke alarm in common areas outside sleeping areas?
  • Do you replace the batteries once a year?
  • Do you replace your smoke alarms every ten years?
  • Do you test your smoke alarms once a month?
  • Do you know if everyone can hear the alarm and be awakened during a fire? Special alarms are available for hearing impaired.

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Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Carbon Monoxide is often called the silent killer, carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of carbon monoxide. Vehicles or generators running in an attached garage can also produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. When the detector goes of everyone should leave the home immediately if anyone is feeling the symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.

Symptoms of CO Poisoning may include severe headache, dizziness, mental confusion, nausea, or faintness. Many of these symptoms are similar to the flu, food poisoning or other illnesses.

  • Install CO alarms (listed by an independent testing laboratory) inside your home to provide early warning of accumulating CO
  • CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside within ten feet of sleeping areas.
  • Test CO alarms at least once a month, and replace CO alarms according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Dail 911 and leave the home if anyone is feeling ill.
  • If the alarm sounds and nobody has any signs of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning you should contact the gas company or provider in your area to have a service technician check your home CO levels. You should leave the home until you know the Carbon Monoxide Levels have been checked and determined to be normal.
  • Know the difference between the sound of the smoke alarms and the sound of the CO alarms.

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Fire Extinguishers

  • Do you have adequate fire extinguishers in your home?
  • Do you have fire extinguishers in your vehicles?
  • Understand that there are different types of fires and different types of fire extinguishers. You can get a Multi-purpose extinguisher for home use.
  • Do you know how to use a extinguisher? (Pull the pin, Aim the hose at the base of the fire, Squeeze the trigger, and Sweep the agent to extinguish the fire). Call the Fire Department if you do not understand how to use your Fire Extinguisher. 444-2454
  • Always call 911 to report the fire first.
  • Make sure you can easily extinguish the fire without breathing smoke.
  • Always maintain the ability to safely exit the area if you cannot extinguish the fire.

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Home Safety with Entry and Egress

  • Are doors and windows working properly so everyone get out if there was a fire? There should be two ways out of every sleeping area in a home.
  • Are there Deadbolt locks and heavy-duty strike plates for home security?
  • Provide outdoor security lighting that is timer or motion-detector controlled.

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Home Safety in Living, Dining, and Family Rooms

  • Is there a carbon monoxide alarm on every level where your family spends time?
  • Are safety plugs on unused outlets if you have small children?
  • Are window treatments free of dangling cords if small children are present?
  • Do you have programmable timers to turn lamps on and off when you're away for security?
  • Are extension cords in good condition and being used safely?
  • Electrical outlets should not be overloaded. Have additional outlets installed by an electrician if needed.
  • Use outlet surge protectors for audio, video, and computer equipment.
  • Windows kept free of furniture if small children are present.
  • Candles should be in sturdy non-combustible holders.
  • Never leave burning candles unattended.

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Safety in the Kitchen

  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • Keep combustibles away from your stove.
  • Pot holders should be in easy reach while cooking.
  • Pot handles should be turned inward to avoid spilling.
  • A smoke alarm with silence button.
  • Do frying pans have a lid available for covering a grease fire?
  • Is there a multi-purpose fire extinguisher in the kitchen?
  • Do you keep a safe zone (three feet) for children around the stove when cooking?
  • Do rugs that have nonslip backings or that are attached with pads or double-faced tape?
  • Have you installed childproof safety latches on cabinets that contain cleaning materials?
  • Are electrical outlets that are fitted with ground-fault circuit interrupters?
  • Are there individual shut-off valves for each gas appliance?
  • For appliances, use only heavy-duty cords extension cords that are specifically made for appliances.
  • The range hood or vent kept free of built-up grease.
  • Radios, televisions and small electric appliances located safely away from the sink.
  • A list of emergency numbers located prominently near the phone.
  • Do you practice safe storage of lighters and matches to keep them away from children?
  • Grills should be used safely and at least ten feet from your home.

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Safety in Bath Areas

  • Do you have an up-to-date first-aid kit?
  • Do you have anti-scald shower/tub water controls?
  • Are there grab bars within easy reach in each tub and shower stall?
  • Do you have shatter-resistant faucet parts with no sharp edges?
  • Is there a night light?
  • Do you have childproof safety latches on cabinets containing dangerous materials?
  • Are electrical outlets positioned away from water fixtures and fitted with a ground-fault circuit interrupter?

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Furnace and Utility Room Safety

  • Do you keep combustibles three feet from heating equipment?
  • Do you have your furnace inspected annually?
  • Clean lint from inside and behind your clothes dryer.
  • A smoke alarm.
  • A carbon monoxide alarm at least 15 - 20 feet from furnace.
  • Is there a fire extinguisher available?

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Safety in Bedroom Areas

  • A smoke alarm in every bedroom and main hallway.
  • A carbon monoxide alarm within ten feet of each bedroom.
  • A night light.
  • A fire-escape ladder (if bedrooms are above main levels).
  • A fire extinguisher.
  • A list of emergency numbers posted near any telephones.
  • The control center for your home security system.
  • A rechargeable flashlight.

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Safety in the Garage

  • A smoke alarm or heat alarm.
  • Is threre a fire extinguisher in the garage?
  • Do you have a fire extinguisher in your vehicles?
  • Do you have a first-aid kit?
  • Well-maintained tools/equipment with safety guards and safety glasses.
  • Electrical outlets equipped with ground-fault circuit interrupters.
  • A telephone for summoning emergency help.

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Severe Weather Safety - NOAA Weather Radios

In case a weather emergency occurs, your family should have a NOAA Weather Alert Radio located where you can hear emergency notifications anywhere in the home.

  • Discuss your severe weather shelter plan with your family so that each member understands the importance of taking shelter and knows where to go during a tornado warning.

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Preparing for a Disaster - Home Disaster Supply Kit

The following items are recommended for inclusion in your basic disaster supplies kit:

  • Three-day supply of non-perishable food.
  • Three-day supply of water - one gallon of water per person, per day.
  • Portable, battery-powered radio or television and extra batteries.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries.
  • First aid kit and manual.
  • Sanitation and hygiene items (moist towelettes and toilet paper).
  • Matches and waterproof container.
  • Whistle.
  • Extra clothing.
  • Kitchen accessories and cooking utensils, including a can opener.
  • Photocopies of credit and identification cards.
  • Cash and coins.
  • Special needs items, such as prescription medications, eye glasses, contact lens solutions, and hearing aid batteries.
  • Items for infants, such as formula, diapers, bottles, and pacifiers.
  • Other items to meet your unique family needs.

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