The Fire Safe Council

Homeowner’s Checklist: How to make your Home Fire Safe




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Design/Construction        Back to top

__   Consider installing residential sprinklers

__   Build your home away from ridge tops, canyons and areas between high points on a ridge

__   Build your home at least 30-100 feet from your property line

__   Use fire resistant materials

__   Enclose the underside of eaves, balconies and above ground decks with fire resistant materials

__   Try to limit the size and number of windows in your home that face large areas of vegetation

__   Install only dual-paned or triple-paned windows

__   Make sure that electric service lines, fuse boxes and circuit breaker panels are installed and maintained as prescribed by code

__   Contact qualified individuals to perform electrical maintenance and repairs

2   Access                              Back to top

__   Identify at least two exit routes from your neighborhood

__   Construct roads that allow two-way traffic

__   Design road width, grade and curves to allow access for large emergency vehicles

__   Construct driveways to allow large emergency equipment to reach your house

__   Design bridges to carry heavy emergency vehicles, including bulldozers carried on large trucks

__   Post clear road signs to show traffic restrictions such as dead-end roads, and weight and height limitations

__   Make sure dead-end roads, and long driveways have turn-around areas wide enough for emergency vehicles

__   Construct turnouts along one-way roads

__   Clear flammable vegetation at least 10 feet from roads and five feet from driveways

__   Cut back overhanging tree branches above roads

__   Construct fire barriers such as greenbelts

__   Make sure that your street is named or numbered, and a sign is visibly posted at each street intersection

__   Make sure that your street name and house number are not duplicated elsewhere in the county

__   Post your house address at the beginning of your driveway, or on your house if it is easily visible from the road

3   Roof                                    Back to top

__   Remove branches within 10 feet of your chimney and dead branches overhanging your roof

__   Remove dead leaves and needles from your roof and gutters

__   Install a fire resistant roof.  Contact your local fire department for current roofing requirements   

__   Cover your chimney outlet and stovepipe with a nonflammable screen of 1/2 inch or smaller mesh

4   Landscape                          Back to top

__   Create a "defensible space" by removing all flammable vegetation at least 30 feet from all structures

__   Never prune near power lines.  Call your local utility company first

__   Landscape with fire resistant plants

__   On slopes or in high fire hazard areas remove flammable vegetation out to 100 feet or more       

__   Space native trees and shrubs at least 10 feet apart

__   For trees taller than 18 feet, remove lower branches within six feet of the ground

__   Maintain all plants by regularly watering, and by removing dead branches, leaves and needles

__   Before planting trees close to any power line contact your local utility company to confirm the maximum tree height allowable for that location

5   Yard                                     Back to top

__   Stack woodpiles at least 30 feet from all structures and remove vegetation within 10 feet of woodpiles

__   Locate LPG tanks (butane and propane) at least 30 feet from any structure and maintain 10 feet of clearance 

__   Remove all stacks of construction materials, pine needles, leaves and other debris from your yard

__   Contact your local fire department to see if open burning is allowed in your area; if so, obtain a burning permit

__   Where burn barrels are allowed, clear flammable materials at least 10 feet around the barrel; cover the open top with a non-flammable screen with mesh no larger than 1/4 inch

6   Emergency Water Supply     Back to top

__   Maintain an emergency water supply that meets fire department standards through one of the following:

  a community water/hydrant system
  a cooperative emergency storage tank with neighbors
  a minimum storage supply of 2,500 gallons on your property

__   Clearly mark all emergency water sources

__   Create easy firefighter access to your closest emergency water source

__   If your water comes from a well, consider an emergency generator to operate the pump during a power failure

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1   Kitchen                      Back to center    Back to top 

__   Keep a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen

__  Maintain electric and gas stoves in good operating condition

__  Keep baking soda on hand to extinguish stove-top grease fires

__  Turn the handles of pots and pans containing hot liquids away from the front of the stove

__  Install curtains and towel holders away from burners on the stove        

__  Store matches and lighters out of the reach of children

__  Make sure that electrical outlets are designed to handle appliance loads

2   Living Room               Back to center    Back to top 

__  Install a screen in front of fireplace or wood stove

__  Store the ashes from your fireplace (and barbecue) in a metal container and dispose of only when cold

__  Clean fireplace chimneys and flues at least once a year

3  Hallway                        Back to center    Back to top 

__  Install smoke detectors between living and sleeping areas

__  Test smoke detectors monthly and replace batteries twice a year, when clocks are changed in the spring and fall

__  Install child safety plugs (caps) on all electrical outlets

__  Replace electrical cords that do not work properly, have loose connections, or are frayed

4  Bathroom                      Back to center    Back to top 

__  Disconnect appliances such as curling irons and hair dryers when done; store in a safe location until cool

__  Keep items such as towels away from wall and floor heaters

5  Bedroom                       Back to center    Back to top 

__  If you sleep with the door closed, install a smoke detector in the bedroom

__  Turn off electric blankets and other electrical appliances when not in use

__  Do not smoke in bed

__  If you have security bars on your windows or doors, be sure they have an approved quick-release mechanism so you and your family can get out in the event of a fire

6   Garage                          Back to center    Back to top 

__  Mount a working fire extinguisher in the garage

__  Have tools such as a shovel, hoe, rake and bucket available for use in a wildfire emergency

__  Install a solid door with self-closing hinges between living areas and the garage

__  Dispose of oily rags in  (Underwriters Laboratories) approved metal containers

__  Store all combustibles away from ignition sources such as water heaters

__  Disconnect electrical tools and appliances when not in use

__  Allow hot tools such as glue guns and soldering irons to cool before storing

__  Properly store flammable liquids in approved containers and away from ignition sources such as pilot lights

Disaster Preparedness

__  Maintain at least a three-day supply of drinking water, and food that does not require refrigeration and generally does not need cooking

__  Maintain a portable radio, flashlight, emergency cooking equipment, portable lanterns and batteries

__  Maintain first aid supplies to treat the injured until help arrives

__  Keep a list of valuables to take with you in an emergency; if possible, store these valuables together

__  Make sure that all family members are ready to

     protect themselves with STOP, DROP AND ROLL

__  For safety, securely attach all water heaters and furniture such as cabinets and bookshelves to walls

__  Have a contingency plan to enable family members to contact each other.  Establish a family/friend phone tree

__  Designate an emergency meeting place outside your home

__  Practice emergency exit drills in the house (EDITH) regularly

__  Outdoor cooking appliances such as barbecues should never be taken indoors for use as heaters 

Back to center    Back to top 

Tips for the Fire Safe Home      Checklist for the Fire Safe Home     Fire Safe Landscaping

Fire Safe Landscaping Guide     Checklist of Plants for the Fire Safe Home


The Fire Safe Council

2410 K Street, Suite C

Sacramento, CA 95816

(916) 447-7415

Kern River Valley Fire Safe Council ● PO Box 633, Kernville, CA 93238

General information: Judy Hyatt •


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Site last Updated On: 07/09/2013