Smart everyday practices in your home can help prevent a house fire. Consider these dos and don’ts to keep you and your family safe.


Do: Keep items that get hot, like electric and gas space heaters, a minimum of three feet from things in your home that can catch fire. When it comes to electric heaters invest in one that’s built with a tip-over switch, which automatically turns it off if it gets knocked over. Be sure to turn heaters off when you leave a room or go to bed.


Do: Have regular conversations with your children about the hazards of fire, and playing with matches and lighters. Be sure to keep these items out of their reach, and stored in a cool, dry place.


Do: Take extra care when smoking indoors. Consider investing in fire-safe cigarettes, using deep and sturdy ashtrays, and dousing your cigarette and cigar butts with water before you throw them away. You may also simply opt to smoke outdoors.


Don’t: Use candles when your power is out—use flashlights instead. Be sure not to leave a candle burning unsupervised, even if only for a very short time.


Don’t: Smoke in bed if you’re drowsy, medicated, or if someone in your household is using oxygen.


Fact: In the U.S. smoking materials are the primary cause of deaths from residential fires, according to the American Red Cross.


Fact: Fire-safe cigarettes are made to stop burning and to extinguish on their own when left unused after being lit—lessening the odds of a fire. These cigarettes have all of the same characteristics and expenses associated with other cigarettes, but they simply stop burning on their own.


Fact: In 2000, New York became the first state to establish fire-safe cigarette laws. These laws required that cigarettes sold or distributed in The Empire State be tested to meet a minimum performance benchmark. Major U.S. cigarette manufacturers have designed fire-safe cigarettes to meet the New York standard, but warn that reckless handling of these cigarettes can still lead to fires.

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