Do You Know How to Use a Fire Extinguisher?

Be Alert in the Kitchen

Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires and fire injuries, and Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires (followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve), according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Make fire safety a priority every day of the year. Whether you are cooking for two or 22, keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Never leave food unattended; this is the leading contributor to cooking fires
  • Plan to keep young children out of the kitchen altogether if you'll be too busy to keep an eye on them
  • Make sure smoke detectors are working and a fire extinguisher is nearby
  • Learn the different types of fire extinguishers and how to use them (not all will work on every fire)
  • Don't deep-fry your turkey; the Consumer Product Safety Commission has reported hundreds of injuries and millions of dollars in property damage from turkey fryer-related fires
  • If you must have fried turkey, use a professional establishments or an oil-less turkey fryer

Keep Your Home Safe

In addition to cooking, other top causes of fire include smoking, electrical problems and children playing with fire and candles. The good news: Over the past several decades, deaths from home structure fires in the U.S. have steadily gone down – from 5,822 in 1980 to 2,812 in 2017, according to Injury Facts

But even one death from a preventable fire is too many. While fire doesn't discriminate by age, it is the third leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14. In 2017, 127 children in this age group died from fire and smoke inhalation.

Keep your home safe from fire:

  • Install both types of smoke alarms (ionization and photoelectric) and carbon monoxide alarms; working smoke alarms cut the chances of dying in a house fire in half
  • Plan – and practice – an escape route and agree on a meeting place outside of your home; be prepared to assist young children, family members with special needs and pets
  • Know two ways out of every room in the home
  • Learn how to use your fire extinguisher
  • If your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop and roll
  • When evacuating, if door handles are hot, pick an alternate route
  • Leave your house and call for help; do not go back to help someone else

The U.S. Fire Administration offers these additional tips to keep children safe from fire and burns:

  • Keep children 3 feet away from anything hot, like candles, space heaters and stove-tops
  • Keep smoking materials locked up in a high place; never leave cigarette lighters or matches where children can reach them
  • Never play with lighters or matches when you are with your children; they may try to imitate you

Practice Home Fire Drills

Smoke alarms are a family's first indication of a fire. But once that alarm sounds a fire can spread quickly, leaving only a minute or two to escape. That's why it's so important to have a plan and practice it.

A home fire is reported every 88 seconds, according to the NFPA. Despite this threat, families rarely practice home fire drills, and nearly half of parents report their children do not know what to do in the event of a fire.

Home Fire Drill Day, a safety observance developed by Nationwide in partnership with NSC and other organizations, is held at the end of Fire Prevention Week each year in October. But families can practice home fire drills any time and take advantage of tools and resources offered at, including:

  • Step-by-step instructions for doing a home fire drill
  • Games to make the experience memorable for kids
  • Worksheet to help you draw a floor plan of your home
  • Video of a fire drill in action
  • Family pledge to practice a home fire drill twice a year
  • Downloadable fire safety resources to share with friends and family
  • Link to download the free Make Safe Happen mobile app that puts home fire drill instructions, including a drill timer, in the palm of your hand

Practice as a family, take the pledge to practice home fire drills twice a year, and encourage others to take the pledge.

How Severe is the Burn?

The Centers for Disease Control reports there are three types of burns:

  • First-degree only affects the top layer of skin
  • Second-degree destroys top layer of skin and partially damages the second layer
  • Third-degree burns affect the inner-most layer of skin

If you don't know how severe a burn is, call 911 or seek medical treatment. Click here for more information on first-aid for burns.

  • Treat Burns

    Did you know you're not supposed to use ice, butter or ointments when treating burns? Learn how to treat all types of burns.

  • Fire Safety Tips

    A small house fire can rage out of control in minutes. Learn how to prevent a fire – and how to survive one.

  • Home Fire Safety Checklist

    Frayed cords, overloaded outlets, space heaters and many other problems can cause a fire. Use this checklist to keep your home fire-proof.