House Fire Preparedness Plan

Man checking a smoke alarm

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments respond to an average of over 340,000 home fires per year. House fires are an unfortunate but fairly common occurrence. We can’t know if or when a house fire will occur at our homes, but we can prepare by learning home fire safety.

Ways to Prepare for a House Fire

Practicing home fire prevention tips and creating a fire preparedness plan are essential. Use this checklist as a guide to help keep your home, yourself, and your loved ones safe.

Practice Your Fire Preparedness Plan

Create and rehearse a fire preparedness plan so that your household knows what to do in the event of a fire emergency. Remember, practice makes perfect!

  • Set up a fire escape plan. Determine how you will exit the house and where you will go.
  • Make sure everyone in your household is aware of your fire safety plan.
  • Practice your escape plan regularly. Think of it like the fire drills you’ve had at school or work, but for your household. Press the alarm test button and confirm everyone can follow their escape plan within a two-minute drill.
  • Map out at least two ways to escape from every room, such as doorways or windows.
  • Establish a meeting spot located a safe distance outside of the home. In the event of a fire, household members should know to gather here.
  • Review the principles of stop, drop, and roll. Confirm that everyone knows what to do if their clothes catch on fire, especially young children.
  • Make sure everyone in your household knows to call 9-1-1 in case of fire. It might be helpful to establish someone as the designated caller.

House Fire Prevention

The NFPA reports that most home fires are caused by cooking, heating, electrical distribution and lighting equipment, internal fires, and smoking materials.

Following home fire prevention tips can help reduce the odds of a fire occurring in the first place. Follow these steps to reduce potential fire hazards and ensure your home is protected against fire.

  • Check smoke alarms regularly. The American Red Cross recommends testing smoke alarms once a month and replacing batteries at least once per year.
  • Make sure you have the right number of smoke alarms for your home. There should be at least one smoke alarm on every level of your house or apartment, as well as outside each sleeping area and inside each bedroom.
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm in your home. Carbon monoxide alarms should be placed outside each sleeping area in a central location.
  • Ensure your house number is visible from the street so that first responders can locate your home quickly. Make sure it’s visible at night, too.
  • Regularly inspect electrical wiring in your home and replace any damaged or frayed wires.
  • Use outlets and extension cords wisely. Take caution not to overload any power source and always follow operating instructions.
  • Make sure home heating sources are in proper working order. If you have a furnace or chimney, keep it clean and well-maintained.
  • Keep combustible materials away from heat sources.
  • If you used a rag with flammable household chemicals, store them safely in a metal container with a properly-fitting lid.
  • Never leave burning candles unattended. Make sure family members are aware of how to use candles safely.
  • Check for fire hazards in the kitchen. Never leave flammable items like oven mitts or towels near the stove area.
  • Use the stove, oven, and other kitchen appliances with caution.


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About the author

I spent 15 years as a firefighter and paramedic...

And too often I would arrive on the scene of someone unconscious, surrounded by a circle of people feeling helpless. Sometimes those people would even have CPR training but lacked the confidence and experience to act.

That’s why I started SureFire CPR. Our classes are practical and engaging – teaching you the crucial skills you need to know what to do and feel empowered to take action.

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Zack Zarrilli, Founder

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