State Fire Marshall Suggests a Home Fire Prevention Checklist

September 16, 2011

As summer comes to a close, State Fire Marshal William E. Barnard offers Marylanders a valuable fire prevention safety checklist to help stop fires before they occur inside the home. “Let’s work together to help prevent residential fires. All Marylanders deserve the safety and security of a good home fire prevention program.”

o Install smoke alarms on every level of your home. Test and vacuum monthly. Change batteries twice a year. Replace smoke alarms after every ten years.
o If smoking materials are used, please use a deep ashtray or smoke outdoors and always ensure smoking material butts are completely extinguished when finished.
o Keep all matches and lighters out of reach of children. Instruct children to alert an adult if they locate matches and lighters and not to touch them.
o Replace frayed, cracked or otherwise damaged electrical cords.
o Limit use of extension cords and don’t overload electrical circuits.
o Never run electrical cords under carpet or rugs.
o Keep the stovetop clean and remove any combustible items on or near the stove area.
o Never leave cooking food unattended. Turn off the stove if you need to leave the room.
o Have chimneys cleaned before use.
o Burn only seasoned dry wood to help prevent creosote build-up in chimneys and woodstoves.
o Keep combustibles three feet away from any heating appliance or fireplace.
o Have your furnace checked and cleaned for proper operation.
o Check the clothes dryer vent pipe and ensure lint build-up is removed.
o Keep flammable liquids in tightly sealed containers and store away from sources of heat.
o Plan and practice your home fire escape plan. Know two ways out of every room. Have a predetermined meeting location outside.

The preceding list is a small sample of fire preventative tips offered by the State Fire Marshal. For more tips and advice on fire safety, visit our Web site at: or contact the Office of the State Fire Marshal at 1-800-525-3124.