Protect Your Family from Fire
The Risk is Real
The risk of injury and death from home fires is real. Consider that:
- In 2011, fire departments across the country responded to 384,000 home fires.
- These fires claimed the lives of 2,640 people and injured another 13,350.
- Approximately 4 out of 10 home fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms.
- The main reason smoke alarms fail to operate during home fires is missing or disconnected batteries.
Keep Your Home Fire Safe
Your home should be a safe and comfortable place—and you can help keep it fire-safe by following these prevention tips.
Cook with care. When you cook, never leave cooking food unattended on the stove. Keep anything that can catch on fire, like potholders and towels, away from the cooking area. Avoid wearing clothes with long, loose-fitting sleeves that can catch on fire. Also, keep pot handles turned in.
If you smoke, attempt to quit. Don't smoke inside your home. If you do smoke in your home, never smoke in bed or leave burning cigarettes unattended. It is unsafe to smoke while drowsy or under the influence of alcohol or medications. Also, don't empty burning or hot ashes in a trash can, and keep ashtrays away from upholstered furniture and curtains.
Stay warm—safely. If and when you use a space heater, keep it more than three feet away from anything that can catch on fire, like draperies.
In an effort to raise parents' awareness about the leading causes of child injury—including burns— in the United States and how they can be prevented, CDC launched the "Protect the Ones You Love" initiative. Parents can play a life-saving role in protecting children from injuries. Information is available in English and Spanish.
Be alarmed. Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home, including the basement, and make sure you have smoke alarms near all sleeping rooms. For better protection, install smoke alarms in sleeping rooms, especially if they are occupied by a smoker. Test all smoke alarms once a month using the test button.
Make and practice an escape plan. Create a home fire escape plan. Know at least two ways out of every room, if possible, and have a meeting place outside. Practice your escape plan twice a year with everyone living in your home.
For more tips on protecting children from burns, visit CDC's Protect the Ones You Love.
- CDC Fire Deaths and Injuries Fact Sheet
- Protect the Ones You Love: Burns
- Fire Spokesperson's Pocket Media Guide
- Listen to Podcasts on Fire and Burn Prevention:
- FireSafety.gov: Information Resources for Eliminating Residential Fire Deaths
- Fire Prevention Week Information, National Fire Protection Association
- Fire Safety Publications, US Consumer Product Safety Commission
CDC works 24/7 saving lives and protecting people from health threats to have a more secure nation. A US federal agency, CDC helps make the healthy choice the easy choice by putting science and prevention into action. CDC works to help people live longer, healthier and more productive lives.
Get email updates
To receive email updates about this page, enter your email address:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd
Atlanta, GA 30333
TTY: (888) 232-6348
- Contact CDC-INFO