Fire Safety Tips

In the interest of home fire safety, the Detroit Fire Department DOES NOT encourage or recommend the use of portable electric or kerosene heaters.  However, if a portable heater is used, please take the following precautions.

  • Keep all portable heaters 5 feet from combustible materials, (i.e. furniture, bedding, and clothes).
  • Check for frayed cords.
  • Check heaters for a safety shut-off device.  Heaters must have this device.
  • Use the correct fuel.
  • Do not overfill.
  • When refueling, always turn off the heater and let it cool completely.  Only refuel the heater outside.
  • Store kerosene in a vented metal container with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Never store kerosene or other flammable liquids near heat sources or in your home.
  • Do not operate when you are sleeping or if you leave the home.
  • Install UL-approved smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.


To prevent fires, the Fire Department encourages residents to:

  • Install smoke detectors on each level of their home and outside of sleeping areas.
  • Have an evacuation plan and make sure all family members know it.
  • Keep cigarettes, lighters and matches out of sight and reach of children.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Use large ashtrays and douse butts and ashes with water before discarding them.
  • Never overload circuits or utilize more than one appliance in an electrical outlet.
  • Don't block exits or stairs.
  • Annually clean chimney and use fire-proof glass doors for fireplaces.
  • Never use security gates or bars.
  • Never store gas-powered tools inside the home (i.e. lawnmower, chainsaw, and other equipment that uses a flammable liquid).
  • Sleep with bedroom door closed.  This will slow the lethal spread of any smoke and fire.  


If a fire should occur, take the following steps:

  • Test doors with back of hand before opening.
  • Use windows as an alternative escape route.
  • Stuff clothing materials at bottom of doors if you are trapped, and hang a sheet or blanket outside of windows.
  • Crawl low under smoke.
  • Have a predetermined meeting spot, outside of your house, such as a neighbors' home.
  • In a high-rise fire, never use elevators. Use stairs only.
  • Once out, stay out. Never re-enter a burning home.