SDFR: How to Prevent and Survive a Household Fire

Courtesy of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, the risk of a fire in your home can be greatly reduced by following simple fire prevention rules.

Provide Smokers with Large, Deep Ashtrays

  • Wet cigarette butts and ashes before emptying ashtrays into a wastebasket.
  • Never smoke when you are lying down, drowsy, or in bed.

Give Space Heaters Space

  • Keep them at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including you.
  • Unplug heaters when you shut them off, leave home, or go to bed.

Be Kitchen Wise

  • Wear tight-fitting or rolled-up sleeves when cooking.
  • Use oven mitts to handle hot pans.
  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • If a pan of food catches fire, slide a lid over it and turn off the burner.
  • Don’t cook if you are drowsy from alcohol or medication.

Stop, Drop, and Roll

  • If your clothing catches on fire: Stop (don’t run), drop gently to the ground, cover your face with your hands and roll over and over to smother the flames.
  • If you cannot do that, smother the flames with a towel or blanket.
  • Immerse burns in cool water for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • If burns are severe, get medical help immediately.

Smoke Alarms Save Lives

  • Have smoke alarms installed outside all sleeping areas and on every level of your home.
  • Test your smoke alarms once a month by pushing the test button.
  • Replace the smoke alarm battery twice a year. When you change the clock, change the smoke alarm battery.
  • Make sure everyone in your home can hear your smoke alarms.

Plan and Practice Your Escape from Fire

  • Know two ways out of every room in your home.
  • Make sure windows and doors open easily.
  • In a fire, get out and stay out.

Know Your Local Emergency Number

  • Remember the number for emergencies is 9-1-1.
  • Once you’ve escaped a fire, call the fire department from a cell phone or neighbor’s phone.

Plan Your Escape Around Your Abilities

  • Have a telephone in your bedroom to call 9-1-1 in case you are trapped by fire.

Download the Fire Safety Tip Sheet on the City’s website at

In a fire, medical, police or any other emergency, call 9-1-1. 

To access Squad 56, the Rapid Response Team, call 9-1-1. 


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