Skip to Main Content

Start of main content

Safety Precautions for Home Fires

Increase your home fire preparedness with these simple tips.

Person installing a smoke alarm

Is your fire preparedness plan up to date?

Home fires are dangerous and can result in devastating property damage. It is important to prepare for the unexpected by planning and practicing steps to take to protect your family in the event of a fire.

Be prepared in case of fire

Plan escape routes

Get the most protection out of your smoke alarm

Alarm type

  • Battery-powered alarms may use a nine-volt battery or 10-year lithium battery.
  • Hard-wired smoke alarms operate on the home's electrical system and include a battery backup in case of power failure.
  • For the hearing-impaired, smoke alarms with an audible alarm and bright flashing lights are available.
  • Make sure your alarm is listed or approved by an independent testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • Follow manufacturers' recommendations on when to replace smoke alarms.


  • To install a battery-powered alarm, all you need is a drill and screwdriver. Always follow the manufacturer's installation instructions.
  • Hard-wired alarms should be installed by a qualified electrician. All hard-wired smoke alarms should be interconnected: If one alarm is activated, all alarms will sound.
  • Install a smoke alarm in each bedroom.
  • Never install a smoke alarm too close to windows, doors, vents, or ceiling fans where drafts could blow smoke away from an alarm.
  • If you have questions about where to install your alarms, contact your local fire department. Many departments will conduct home smoke alarm inspections for free or a minimal fee.


  • If you have standalone battery-powered alarms, test them once a month and replace the batteries once a year.
  • Make sure that everyone in your household knows the sound of the alarms.
  • Never paint any part of a smoke alarm.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions when cleaning your alarms. Dust and debris can usually be removed by using a vacuum cleaner attachment.

Have a fire extinguisher handy

To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS: Pull the pin and release the locking mechanism. Aim the nozzle low and at the base of the fire. Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly. Sweep the nozzle from side to side.

  • Select a multi-purpose Class ABC extinguisher that is large enough to put out a small fire, but not so heavy as to be difficult to handle.
  • Read the instructions that come with the fire extinguisher and become familiar with its parts and operation before a fire breaks out. Local fire departments or fire equipment distributors often offer hands-on fire extinguisher training.
  • Install fire extinguishers close to an exit and keep your back to a clear exit when you use the device so you can make an easy escape if the fire cannot be controlled. If the room fills with smoke, leave immediately.
  • Know when to go. Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is safe escape.
  • Remember that each extinguisher must be serviced annually and may need to be recharged.

Consider a home fire sprinkler system

  • Residential fire sprinkler systems provide added protection above smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.
  • Fire sprinklers immediately respond to a fire while it is still small — controlling the spread of deadly heat, flames, and toxic smoke whether or not the occupants have appropriately responded to the signaling smoke alarm.
  • These sprinklers are smaller than commercial or industrial sprinklers and can fit in with almost any decor.
  • During home construction or remodeling, a home fire sprinkler system can be cost effective.

Home fire safety can be simple

Just by being aware of common fire hazards and keeping an eye out for problems, you could save your home and possessions from serious damage.

State Farm® is here to help life go right.® If your property sustains damage in a home fire, file a claim with a claims representative.

State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates) is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites hyperlinked from this page. State Farm has no discretion to alter, update, or control the content on the hyperlinked, third party site. Access to third party sites is at the user's own risk, is being provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any of the products which may be referenced on such third party sites.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

Get a Quote

Select a product to start a quote.

Contact Us

844-373-0003 844-373-0003

Also Important

Prepare a Home Fire Evacuation Plan with Your Family

Prepare a Home Fire Evacuation Plan with Your Family

Preparing your family with safe escape routes and instructions can be a lifesaver in the case of an emergency.

Talk About and Practice Fire Safety.

Talk About and Practice Fire Safety.

Stop, drop and roll is only the beginning — fire safety games and practice can help kids get educated.

Related Articles

What to Do After a House Fire

What to Do After a House Fire

These four steps can help you and your family recover.

Putting Kitchen Safety First

Putting Kitchen Safety First

Protect yourself and your family from cuts, burns, slips, and fires when cooking.

Smoke Detector Placement and Safety

Smoke Detector Placement and Safety

You're going to need more than one and there are different types, so read this.