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Fire Safety Tips

The Florida State Fire Marshal's Office has developed this list of seasonal fire safety tips for you and your family.

Some Statistics

  • There are more than 209 fires in Florida homes every day. Forty percent start in the kitchen, over 22 percent are caused by faulty wiring, followed by careless smoking, children playing with matches or lighters, and unattended heating devices.

  • More than two-thirds of Florida's fire fatalities are age 40 and over, followed by those age 70 and over.

  • One of the most shocking statistics is that smoke detectors are not present or are inoperative in over 52 percent of these homes.

    Don't let your family or home become part of these statistics. Make time for you and your family to study these tips and put them into practice.


  • Don't panic -- do your best to stay calm.

  • Leave the house of apartment quickly. Don't go back in for any reason.

  • If smoke is present, drop to the floor and crawl to the nearest exit. (Air will be cleaner closer to the floor)

  • Never use water to put out an electrical fire. This can cause a serious shock hazard.

  • If trapped inside and blocked by smoke, close all doors between you and the smoke. Try to seal openings around doors with wet towels. Then, open a window slightly at top and bottom for fresh air.

  • Feel the door before you exit through it. If the door is hot, leave by another exit.

  • Don't use water to put out a cooking grease fire. Turn off the heat and cover the pan with a lid to smother the flames or use an approved class-B fire extinguisher.

  • In case of fire, use the stairs, not the elevator, in a multistory building.

  • Always use cool water or ice on a skin burn, never grease or butter.

Fire Safety Tips: General Tips

  • Plan escape routes from every room and floor to an outdoor meeting place. Be sure everyone in the family knows and practices them. If there is only one exit from the upper floor have slides or rope ladder available and practice proper use.

  • Install smoke detectors on every floor and in hallways leading to bedrooms.

  • Change smoke alarm batteries semi-annually, easily remembered if done when changing the clocks for daylight savings time in the spring and fall months. Test alarms regularly.

  • Keep an approved fire extinguisher in the kitchen, boat and car.

  • Be sure family members know how to use them.

  • Do not use frayed extension cords and do not place extension cords under a rug or near a heat source.

  • Do not overload electrical outlets or extension cords.

  • Be sure children know their address.

  • Have them pretend to call 9-1-1 and practice talking clearly and calmly.

  • Practice STOP, DROP AND ROLL with your children.

  • Make sure your babysitter knows the family's fire safety rules, escape routes and meeting place.

  • If you smoke, do not smoke in bed and never, never walk away from a lighted cigarette.

  • Keep ovens, broiling pans and kitchen exhaust fans clean.

  • Keep pot handles out of the reach of children. With small children in the house, turn handles away from front of the stove.

  • When frying foods on stove, do NOT leave unattended.

  • Do not wear loose or flowing sleeves when cooking.

  • If a fuse or circuit breaker should blow or keeps tripping, find out why and correct the problem. Always use the correct size fuse. Call an electrician.

  • Make sure your house numbers can be easily seen from the street.

  • Remember, fire engines and emergency vehicles always have the right-of-way, Pull over and stop.

Fire Safety Tips: MultiStory Safety Tips

  • Memorize exit locations from your apartment, recreation, laundry and storage areas so you can find them even in the smoke.

  • If there is only one exit from the upper floor, have slides or rope ladders available and practice proper use of them.

  • Recommend semiannual fire drills to your building manager.

  • Know where the fire alarms are and how to use them.

  • Do not smoke if you are taking medication that makes you drowsy.

  • If you or a member of your family are handicapped and need help in leaving your apartment, make sure the fire department is aware of it. There are labels available which can be placed on windows where handicapped people reside.

Fire Safety Tips: Spring/Summer

  • Store paints, fuels and all ignitable liquids in a cool, locked metal cabinet. Greasy rags should be stored in a self-closing metal container. DO NOT store chemicals that are not compatible together such as pool chemicals, oils, gasoline and cleaning products. If you're not sure, call your local fire department.

  • Never leave a grill unattended. Never use liquid fuel to start a fire, only approved charcoal lighter.

  • Avoid using gas or charcoal grills on enclosed porches or balconies.

  • When on trips, check hotel/motel rooms for smoke detectors as well as alternate means of escape.

  • Fireworks, including sparklers, are dangerous. Fireworks are illegal, including firecrackers. Leave them to the professionals.

  • Florida averages 8,100 wildfires each year, destroying thousands of acres of forest, grassland and animals. Dispose of matches and cigarettes properly.

  • Stow boat fuel carefully and use caution when refueling. Do not smoke. Be sure to vent engine compartment by turning on blowers when fueling.

  • Use only flashlights in a tent. Never use candles, heaters or stoves.

  • Keep your campfire small. When extinguishing fire, pour water or dirt over it until the coals and ground are cool to the touch before leaving campfire.

Fire Safety Tips: Fall/Winter

  • Become familiar with outdoor burning regulations in your area. Most outdoor fires, including burning leaves, are illegal unless approved by the appropriate authority.

  • Make sure holiday decorations and children's costumes are fire retardant.

  • Use flashlights, not candles, in jack-o-lanterns.

  • Light candles beyond a child's "reach" zone only. Keep lit candles away from curtains, off shelves and away from flammables. Put out candles when they're unattended or before you go to bed.

  • Keep space heaters away from furniture and curtains.

  • Make sure space heaters are off before you leave the house or go to bed.

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