Senior Airman Samuel Zietzmann, a 354th Maintenance Squadron aircraft metals technology journeyman, uses plasma cutting

Fire Safety

If you get caught in a fire, do you know what to do?

1.  If you are able to extinguish the fire, do so thoroughly. Grab a fire extinguisher and remember to PASS: pull the pin, aim at the base of the flames, squeeze the extinguisher handle, and sweep from side to side until the fire is extinguished. 

2.  If you cannot extinguish the fire, run for safety and call for help. Once you are safely away from the fire, call 911 if you have a cell phone, if not go to a neighbor's house and borrow their phone.

3.  Crawl beneath the smoke to the closest exit. Fire produces smoke and poisonous gases that can cause lightheadedness or loss of consciousness if inhaled. 

4.  Check doors and doorknobs for heat. If they are warm to the touch, there could be a fire burning on the other side, so don't go through it.

5.  If you get trapped inside, cover all door cracks and vents with whatever you can find. If you can wet the fabric down, do so. 

6.  If your clothes catch on fire, immediately stop, drop and roll. Cover your face with your hands as you roll, to protect your face from flames.

Smoke Alarm Tips

  • Test smoke detectors monthly.
  • Replace the battery at least once a year. If the alarm makes a "chirping" sound, replace it immediately. 
  • Replace all smoke alarms every 10 years.
  • Smoke alarms should be located in every bedroom, in common areas on each floor of a home. Mount them at least 10 feet from the stove and less than 12 inches from the ceiling, away from windows, doors and ducts.
  • Be sure to purchase smoke alarms with the label of a reputable testing agency, like Underwriters Laboratories. 
An Airman checks a smoke alarm

Did you know?

3 out of every 5 home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms
Ref: National Fire Protection Association

Carbon Monoxide Alarm Tips

  • Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless gas, and it can kill you. Anything in the home that burns fuel can potentially become a source of carbon monoxide.
  • CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each bedroom and on every level of the home.
  • The safety tips for CO detectors mirror those of smoke alarms: change the batteries, test them and interconnect them, if possible. 
  • Make sure vents for your gas appliances such as fireplaces, dryers, stoves and furnaces, are free and clear of snow or debris.

Furnace Prep Tips

  • Don't wait until cold weather to maintain your furnace
  • Replace the air filter in your furnace each month. 
  • Consider upgrading to a pleated filter, HEPA filter or electrostatic filter to increase the energy efficiency of your furnace 
  • Clean your air vents and ducts. Remove the vent covers and use the extension hose to vacuum out dust.
  • Inspect the blower belt for cracks and have it replaced if necessary
  • Set programmable thermostats so it lowers the temperature while you are asleep or away from your home. According to the Consumer Energy Center, you could save from 20 to 75 percent on your furnace's operating costs by using this type of thermostat. 
  • Inspect the exhaust flue outdoors to ensure it is free of obstructions such as branches or animal nests.
  • Keep the area around your furnace unit free of debris and clutter. Remove any items you have stored near the furnace, particularly anything that is likely to catch fire.
  • Remove any household items on top or in front of your air ducts and return vents.

Fireplace prep tips

Inspect annually - All chimneys should be inspected and cleaned by a chimney cleaning professional at least once a year, or about once every 80 fires. A thorough cleaning will remove any buildup of creosote, an oily and highly flammable byproduct of burning wood, giving you a safer fireplace.

Check for cracks and loose joints of the firebricks inside the fireplace, and check the exterior masonry for damage. Hire a professional mason to do any repairs—never try to repair firebrick with regular mortar, as the mixture cannot stand up to high heat.


Make sure the fireplace damper opens, closes and seals properly.  It should move easily and be free of debris and ashes. For wood burning fireplaces it is recommended that you have it swept out at least once a year at the beginning of winter. Hiring a chimney sweep is the easiest and safest way to remove soot and debris from inside the chimney that could potentially cause a fire. Sweeping the chimney should be left to a professional, as having the appropriate tools and knowledge is necessary. Lastly, Confirm that the chimney cap is firmly attached and in good condition. The cap should include protective screening to keep birds, squirrels, bats, and other pests from entering the chimney.

Clear away tree limbs - prune any overhanging limbs that may be encroaching on the chimney. The can be a fire hazard, may restrict the proper draft of the chimney and could damage the cap.

Clear out ashes - Clean out the firebox once a week, or whenever ash is more than an inch deep. Coals can remain hot for up to three days, so make sure everything is completely cold. Sweep or vacuum the cold ashes and dispose of them outside—wood ashes are perfect for garden beds and compost piles. If shoveling leftover ash into a bucket, you can avoid a cloud of ash by spraying it down with a little bit of water first.


Consider installing heatproof glass doors to improve the energy efficiency of your fireplace. Doors can prevent sparks from escaping the fireplace and damaging the floor. If your fireplace already has glass doors, clean them with a paper towel and glass fireplace door cleaner.


Stock up on good-quality firewood, and store it away from the house to avoid attracting pests. Hardwoods like oak, maple, and birch burn hotter and longer than soft woods like pine. You can also burn specially made fireplace logs, like Duraflame or Pres-to-Logs. Never burn treated or painted wood, which produce dangerous fumes.


If you have a gas fireplace, check to make sure that the pilot light is on and the vents are all clear and working properly. Check the logs, liners, and burners for cracks, and replace any damaged components.


If you have an electric fireplace, check all the wires to make sure none are frayed or broken and all connectors are securely fastened. Vacuum and dust the fireplace on a regular basis.

Sparky the Fire Dog and Bob Ratcliffe, 423rd Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter, pose for a photo at RAF Molesworth, England, Oct. 6, 2020 during Fire Prevention Week 2020. Since 1922, national Fire Prevention Week is intended to educate the public about the importance of pre-planning actions they should take to keep themselves and their families safe from fire mishap. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jennifer Zima)

Did you know?

Smoke alarms can be interconnected wirelessly so when one sounds, they all sound. This is the best way to notify everyone in a home if there is a fire.

A photo of two firefighters spraying fire.

Fire Safety Videos

A multitude of fireworks ignite in a grand finale of the BLAZE Fest Fireworks show July 3, 2020, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. Multiple viewing areas were provided to allow for groups to watch while practicing safe CDC procedures while enjoying the holiday. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Hannah Bean)

Mobility Airmen host Juneteenth celebration
Individual placing chicken on a grill outdoors.

Fireworks Safety

Fireworks are beautiful to watch, but they are also dangerous if handled incorrectly.  Always supervise children and keep a bucket of water or charged water hose near by.

Grill Safety

No matter the type of grill you use, always use them outdoors in a well-ventilated area and follow all the manufacturer's instructions. Keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from the grill.  

Winter Fire Safety

Home fires happen more during the winter than in any other season.  As you and your family stay cozy and warm, use these tips to avoid fire danger.

1.  Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from heat sources such as fireplaces, space heaters, wood stoves and radiators

2.  Never plug heaters into an extension cord; always plug into a wall socket

3.  Never leave heat sources unattended

4.  Never use heat sources for purposes other than what they are intended for (drying clothes, etc...)

5.  Only plug in one electrical appliance for each socket

6.  Don't overload power strips; use power strips that have internal overload protection

7.  Keep portable generators outside, away from windows and as far away as possible from your house

8.  Have a qualified professional clean and inspect your chimney, vents and heat sources annually

9.  Store cooled ashes outdoors in a tightly covered metal container a minimum of 10 feet away from your house and nearby buildings

10.  If possible, avoid using lighted candles

11.  If you must use candles, make sure to put them in sturdy candleholders that won't tip over easily; extinguish candles after each use; never leave burning candles unattended

12.  Never connect more than three strands of holiday lights

13.  Water your live Christmas tree daily and get rid of your tree after Christmas or when it's dry

14.  Ensure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order with fresh batteries

Carbon Monoxide Do's and Don'ts Poster

Fire Prevention Week Poster

What to do in a fire poster

Furnace Safety Tips

Grilling Safety Tips - food on grill cooking, person holding tongs