Even a minor fire in your home can lead to costly fire damage restoration, and has the potential to seriously harm a member of your family. The majority of fire deaths happen within the home, often because residents were unable to escape.

In 2016, FEMA reported 88 total home fire fatalities in Michigan, with 28 fatalities so far in 2017. You can greatly increase your chances of survival and faster emergency response by making sure your home, and family, are fully prepared.

Home Fire Inspection Checklist – General Safety

  1. Make sure your home has smoke alarms on every level, this includes a smoke alarm for each bedroom outside each sleeping area.
  2. Check that smoke alarms are installed at least 10’ away from stationary or fixed cooking appliances
  3. For homes with interior floor area greater than 1,000 sq ft per level, make sure there is at least one smoke alarm for every 500 sq ft.
  4. For best protection, make sure your smoke alarms are interconnected so if one sounds then all of your smoke alarms will sound.
  5. Home is outfitted with ionization smoke alarms, photoelectric smoke alarms, or combination alarms.
  6. All fire alarms are tested in working order with charged batteries.
  7. Family has a documented fire escape plan
  8. Family practices the fire escape plan at least twice per year
  9. Fire escape plan includes details on helping occupants that require assistance to escape
  10. Ensure your home number is clearly visible from the street
  11. Any windows used for escape should open easily and should not be blocked by furniture, boxes, or security bars.
  12. If security bars are installed, the bars feature a quick-release latch for escape.
  13. Home has a functional carbon monoxide detector on every level, outside of each sleeping area
  14. Carbon monoxide detectors are tested in working order

Home Fire Inspection Checklist – Throughout the Home

  1. Smokers smoke outside of the home.
  2. Smokers use a contained disposal method, such as large ash trays, outside.
  3. Matches and lighters are stored in a secure cabinet.
  4. Batteries for electronic cigarettes are not left on chargers.
  5. Batteries for electronic cigarettes are stores safely in non-metal containers to prevent battery shorts.
  6. Lit candles are not left unattended
  7. When lit, candles are only held securely in purpose-made containers. Never on plates or on countertops where they could fall or melt down to burn exposed furniture
  8. Flammable liquids are clearly marked and stored in designated containers outside of the home. If stored inside, keep to minimum quantity.
  9. Clutter is kept to a minimum, especially flammable articles such as newspaper, magazines, mail, clothes, etc.

Home Fire Inspection Checklist – The Kitchen

  1. Flammable items are never placed or stored on or near the stovetop
  2. All small appliances are unplugged when not in use (toaster, blenders, coffee pot, etc.)
  3. Responsible adult remains in the kitchen when stove is in use.
  4. Cooking surfaces are clean of grease and good buildup
  5. Cookies and other kid-friendly snacks are not stored above the stove
  6. Kitchen has a working fire extinguisher with up to date inspection

Home Fire Inspection Checklist – The Living Room/Family Room

  1. Fireplace has proper screen and hearth
  2. Flammable items are kept at least 3 feet from space heaters and fireplaces
  3. Closet lights have covers (no bare bulbs)
  4. Incandescent lights are not exposed, and have a shade that is no closer than 12”
  5. Light bulbs throughout meet recommended wattage of the fixture
  6. Electric cords don’t run under carpets and are not pressed against a wall
  7. Electric load is balanced across circuits, outlets are not overloaded with too many devices.

Home Fire Inspection Checklist – The Rest of the House

  1. Mattresses are updated and fire retardant
  2. Portable heaters or other heat-producing appliances are at least 3’ from any flammable items including furniture, beds, clothing, etc.
  3. Upper bedrooms have exterior access through a window with access to ground level for easy escape. (Stock rooms with simply escape ladders that family members know how to use)
  4. All electrical outlets near water sources/sinks are GFCI outlets with overload protection
  5. Furnace and water heater are clear of obstructions with no flammable items stored nearby.
  6. Ventilation for furnace and water heater is clear and free of obstruction to the outside of the home
  7. Burner-access doors on water heater should be closed off to prevent flame roll-out.
  8. Breaker panel is up to code, sealed, and has not been recalled or recommended for replacement.
  9. Breaker wires are secure and not loose
  10. Oily rags are stored in air-tight containers and away from heat sources
  11. Zero lint build-up inside the clothes dryer
  12. Exhaust vent for clothes dryer is free of lint build-up
  13. Foil or accordion-type ducting material is replaced with rigid or semi-rigid exhaust duct work.