Home & Apartment Fire Prevention

Even a small house fire can have a big impact, especially now, as people spend more time at home. The damage caused by smoke, water, rescue equipment, and the fire itself can be devastating. Luckily, many fires are preventable. Our experts recommend you take action to prevent fires in your home:

Cooking Fires

Cooking fires are responsible for almost half of home fires and home fire fatalities.

In many cases, unattended cooking equipment is to blame. Never cook if you’re tired (more than a quarter of all cooking fire deaths occur when the victim is asleep), and avoid activities that take your attention away from the stove. Keep an eye on nearby objects, discard hot oil properly, and don’t let grease build up on your appliances – these are also leading causes of cooking fires.

If you find yourself facing a kitchen fire, respond with extreme caution. Most cooking fire injuries occur when victims try to fight the fires themselves. Small grease fires can sometimes be smothered by a metal lid or cooking pot cover, but never throw water on an oil fire! If your oven catches fire, keep it closed and turn off the heat. Have an extinguisher nearby and ensure it’s the right grade. (Both “B” for grease fires/flammable liquids and “C” for electrical equipment labels).

For more on grills and fire pits, click here.

Source: National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA)


Heating and electrical fires are the second and third most common causes of home fires, and they don’t always start inside walls. Always use electrical equipment as intended and replace old or frayed wires. Keep extension cords away from furniture (backing a couch or dresser up against a plug can fray the covering over time). Don’t run extension cords under heavily-trafficked carpets, and never use holiday lights as extension cords.

Give yourself the best chance against electrical fires by taking care with renovations. Electrical work is not a DIY project – leave it to the professionals!

Source: NFPA

Good to know:

There are as many ways to prevent fires as there are to start them. Some tips – such as keeping fire alarms in working order – may seem obvious, but others may surprise you:

  • Solar panels carry a lot of electricity and can catch fire if wires are exposed. Have yours inspected and cleaned at least once a year. Consider installing solar panels in your yard instead of on your roof. Keep in mind, firefighters will not climb onto a solar paneled roof because the electrical currents can be extremely dangerous.
  • Sizeable collections of anything flammable and excessive clutter are dangerous in the event of a fire. Not only can they catch fire more quickly than the home’s structure, but they make it much more difficult for firefighters to rescue anyone trapped inside the house. Ensure your home has clear pathways and consider storing flammable collections in a garage or weather-proof shed.
  • The housing market has been volatile in recent months and many people are buying homes without having them properly inspected. It is well worth the time to call your local fire department for the proper certifications before you buy a house. You can find more information about this process on mass.gov.
  • If you rent, make sure you have enough renters insurance to cover your property. Fires can easily jump from one unit to another. Even if the flames never touch your property, a fire in one unit may trigger the sprinklers in every unit – potentially causing thousands of dollars’ worth of water damage.
  • The NFPA reports that candle fires cause an average of $278 million in direct property damage each year. For a safe, realistic looking and smelling alternative, try using a flameless candles. They are widely available and are great alternatives to the real thing. If you must use a candle, never leave it unattended and keep it far away from the reach of children and pets.

No matter the cause…

Have an escape plan and practice it with your family. If a fire starts in your home, get yourself and your family to safety and call 911. Once the smoke has cleared, give your agent a call. They’re there to help you navigate your next steps. You don’t have to deal with a fire’s aftermath alone!