Keep your family and overnight guests safe with a working smoke detector on every level of the house, in every bedroom, and in the halls adjacent to the bedrooms. Test smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries at least once a year.

  • Have a fire escape plan and designated meeting place for your home.
  • Have a fire extinguisher available not more than 10 feet from the stove, on the exit side of the room. A 2-1/2 lb. class ABC multi-purpose dry chemical extinguisher is recommended. Know how to use your fire extinguisher.


  • Keep cooking areas clean and cleared of all combustibles that could ignite if placed too close to the stove area such as boxes, towels, pot holders, or holiday decorations.
  • Keep the kitchen off-limits to young children and adults that are not helping with food preparations to lessen the possibility of kitchen mishaps.
  • When cooking, do not wear clothing with loose sleeves or dangling jewelry. The clothing can catch on fire and the jewelry can catch on pot handles, causing spills and burns.
  • Cook on the back burners when possible and turn pot handles in so they don’t extend over the edge of the stove.
  • Never leave cooking unattended. If you must leave the kitchen while cooking, turn off the stove or have someone else watch what is being cooked. Unattended cooking is the #1 cause of home fires in Austin.
  • If a fire does occur, put a lid on it! Pan fires are best extinguished by covering the pan with a lid or a cookie sheet to smother the flames.


  • Candles are often part of holiday decorations. Candles should never be left burning when you are away from home, or after going to bed.
  • Candles should be located where children will not be tempted to play with them, and where guests will not accidentally brush against them.
  • The candle holder should be completely noncombustible and difficult to knock over. The candle should not have combustible decorations around it.


  • Before choosing a tree, shake it to make sure it's not dropping needles. Limbs should be flexible. Trees with thicker needles, such as the noble fir, last longer.
  • To make a cut tree last longer, cut 2" to 3" off the trunk and then immediately place the base of the tree in water. Keep the tree outside (out of the sun) as long as possible since even a well-watered tree will only last about three weeks inside the home.
  • Chose a sturdy tree stand that holds at least one gallon of liquid. Replenish water daily.
  • Place Christmas trees away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources.
  • Do not use lighted candles on the tree.
  • All light sets should bear the "UL" label from Underwriter Laboratories.
  • Turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to sleep. Faulty or unattended lights cause most Christmas tree fires.
  • Dispose of the tree as soon as needles begin to fall off easily when the tree is touched.