Fire Safety Checklist

Serving Southern California Since 1987


Following is a fire safety checklist which is intended to help you make your home fire safe.



1. Kitchen
___ Keep a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen
___ Maintain electric and gas stoves in good operating condition
___ Keep baking soda on hand to extinguish stove-top grease fires
___ Turn the handles of pots and pans containing hot liquids away from the front of the stove
___ Install curtains and towel holders away from the burners on the stove
___ Store matches and lighters out of the reach of children
___ Make sure that electrical are designed to handle appliance loads
2. Living Room
___ Install a screen in front of fireplace or wood stove
___ Store the ashes from your fireplace (or barbeque) in a metal container and dispose of only when cold
___ Clean fireplace chimneys and flues at least once a year
3. Hallway
___ Install smoke detectors between living and sleeping areas
___ Test smoke detectors monthly and replace batteries twice a year, when clocks are changed in the spring and fall
___ Install child safety plugs (caps) on all electrical outlets
___ Replace electrical cords that do not work properly, have loose connections, or are frayed
4. Bedroom
___ If you sleep with the door closed, install a smoke detector in the bedroom
___ Turn off electric blankets and other electrical appliances when not in use
___ Do not smoke in bed
___ If you have security bars on your windows or doors, be sure they have an approved quick-release mechanism so you and your family can get out in the event of a fire
5. Bathroom
___ Disconnect appliances such as curling irons and hair dryers when done; store in a safe location until cool
___ Keep items such as towels away from wall and floor heaters
6. Garage
___ Mount a working fire extinguisher in the garage
___ Have tools such as a shovel, hoe, rake, and bucket available for use in a wildfire emergency
___ Install a solid door with self-closing hinges between living areas and the garage
___ Dispose of oily rags in approved (Underwriters Laboratories) metal containers
___ Store all combustibles away from ignition sources such as water heaters
___ Disconnect electrical tools and appliances when not in use
___ Allow hot tools such as glue guns and soldering irons to cool before storing
___ Properly store flammable liquids in approved containers and away from ignition sources such as pilot lights

Disaster Preparedness

___ Maintain at least a three-day supply of drinking water, and food that does not require refrigeration and generally does not need cooking
___ Maintain a portable radio, flashlight, emergency cooking equipment, portable lanterns and batteries
___ Maintain first aid supplies to treat the injured until help arrives
___ Keep a list of valuables to take with you in an emergency; if possible, store these valuables together
___ Make sure that all family members are ready to protect themselves with STOP, DROP and ROLL
___ For safety, securely attach all water heaters and furniture such as cabinets and bookshelves to walls
___ Have a contingency plan to enable family members to contact each other. Establish a family / friend phone tree
___ Designate an emergency meeting place outside your home
___ Practice emergency exit drills in the house regularly
___ Outdoor cooking appliances such as barbeques should never be taken indoors for use as heaters


1. Design / Construction
___ Consider installing residential sprinklers
___ Build your home away from ridge tops, canyons and areas between high points on a ridge
___ Build your home at least 30 100 feet from your property line
___ Use fire resistant materials
___ Enclose the underside of eaves, balconies and above ground decks with fire resistant materials
___ Try to limit the size and number of windows in your home that face large areas of vegetation
___ Install only dual-paned or triple-paned windows
___ Make sure that electric service lines, fuse boxes and circuit breaker panels are installed and maintained as prescribed by code
___ Contact qualified individuals to perform electrical maintenance and repairs
2. Access
___ Identify at least two exit routes from your neighborhood
___ Construct roads that allow two-way traffic
___ Design road width, grade and curves to allow access for large emergency vehicles
___ Construct driveways to allow large emergency equipment to reach your house
___ Design bridges to carry heavy emergency vehicles, including bulldozers carried on large trucks
___ Post clear road signs to show traffic restrictions such as dead-end roads, and weight and height limitations
___ Make sure dead-end roads, and long driveways have turn-around areas wide enough for emergency vehicles
___ Construct turnouts along one-way roads
___ Clear flammable vegetation at least 10 feet from roads and five feet from driveways
___ Cut back overhanging tree branches above roads
___ Make sure that your street is named or numbered, and a sign is visibly posted at each street intersection
___ Make sure that your street name and house number are not duplicated elsewhere in the county
___ Post your houses address at the beginning of your driveway, or on your house if it is easily visible from the road
3. Roof
___ Remove branches within 10 feet of your chimney and dead branches overhanging your roof
___ Remove dead leaves and needles from your roof and gutters
___ Install a fire resistant roof. Contact your local fire department for current roofing requirements
___ Cover your chimney outlet and stovepipe with a nonflammable screen of half inch or smaller mesh
4. Landscape
___ Create a "defensible space" by removing all flammable vegetation at least 30 feet from all structures
___ Never prune near power lines. Call your local utility company first
___ Landscape with fire resistant plants
___ On slopes or in high fire hazard areas remove flammable vegetation out to 100 feet or more
___ Space native trees and shrubs at least 10 feet apart
___ For trees taller than 18 feet, remove lower branches within six feet of the ground
___ Maintain all plants by regularly watering, and by removing dead branches, leaves and needles
___ Before planting trees close to any power line, contact your local utility company to confirm the maximum tree height allowable for that location
5. Yard
___ Stack woodpiles at least 30 feet from all structures and remove vegetation within 10 feet of woodpiles
___ Locate LPG tanks (butane and propane) at least 30 feet from any structure and maintain 10 feet of clearance
___ Remove all stacks of construction materials, pine needles, leaves and other debris from your yard
___ Contact your local fire department to see if open burning is allowed in your area; if so, obtain a burning permit
___ Where burn barrels are allowed, clear flammable materials at least 10 feet around the barrel; cover the open top with non-flammable screen mesh no larger than a quarter inch
6. Emergency Water Supply
___ Maintain an emergency water supply that meets fire department standards through one of the following:
A community water / hydrant system
A cooperative emergency storage tank with neighbors
A minimum storage supply of 2,500 gallons on your property
___ Clearly mark all emergency water sources
___ Create easy firefighter access to your closest emergency water source
___ If your water comes from a well, consider an emergency generator to operate the pump during a power failure

This fire safety checklist was developed by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.