Each year more than 2,500 people die and 12,600 are injured in home fires in the United States, with direct property loss due to home fires estimated at $7.3 billion annually. Home fires can be prevented!
To protect yourself, it is important to understand the basic characteristics of fire. Fire spreads quickly; there is no time to gather valuables or make a phone call. In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames.
Heat and smoke from fire can be more dangerous than the flames. Inhaling the super-hot air can sear your lungs. Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Instead of being awakened by a fire, you may fall into a deeper sleep. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three-to-one ratio.
For more information on what to do before, during and after a fire, please visit Ready.gov.
Take some simple steps to keep you and your family safe from fire
- Be sure smoke alarms are installed throughout your home.
- If your smoke alarms run on batteries, or have battery back-up power, replace batteries at least once per year. If the low battery warning beeps, replace the battery immediately. All smoke alarms in your house should be tested once a month using the alarm test button.
- Keep fire extinguishers in your home. Be sure to keep a fire extinguisher in high-risk areas such as the kitchen and workshop, and know how to use it.
- Know what to do in case of a grease or electrical fire. Use baking soda, or if a pan is on fire, smother the flames with a lid. Never use water to put out a fire on your stove.
- If leaking gas starts to burn, do not try to put the flame out. Call 9-1-1 and PG&E immediately. If it is safe to do so, turn off the gas service shutoff valve normally located near the gas meter.