Fire prevention

The best way to stop a fire is to learn how to prevent it.

Common causes of fire deaths

  • Smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths.
  • Alcohol use contributes to 40% of residential fire deaths.
  • Cooking is the number one cause of residential fires.
  • Not having smoke alarms causes about half of fire deaths in a home.
smoke rising to fire alarm on ceiling

Fire safety and prevention at home


Take these safety measures.

Have working smoke alarms

  • Test your smoke alarm monthly. Change the batteries twice a year.
  • Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home, especially near bedrooms.
  • If you keep your bedrooms doors closed, install a smoke alarm inside each bedroom.
  • Consider installing a residential automatic fire sprinkler system.

Install a carbon monoxide detector

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector near sleeping areas.

Keep a household emergency supply kit

Make sure you're prepared during a fire or for other emergencies, such as a severe storm or power outage. The American Red Cross recommends keeping the following items on hand for emergencies:

  • Water: one gallon per person, per day:
    • Three-day supply for evacuation
    • Two-week supply for home
  • Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items
    • Three-day supply for evacuation
    • Two-week supply for home
  • Flashlight (Note: Do not use candles during a power outage due to the extreme risk of fire.)
  • Portable radio
    • Battery-powered radio
    • Hand-crank radio
    • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio
  • Extra batteries
  • First-aid kit
  • Medications (seven-day supply) and medical items
  • Multipurpose tool, such as a Swiss Army Knife
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of your personal documents:
    • Medication list and medical information
    • Deed or lease to home
    • Birth certificates
    • Insurance policies
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information

Make an escape plan

  • Simplicity is key. Plan for two escape paths in case one is blocked.
  • Communicate your meeting place with everyone.
  • Practice makes perfect! Practice your plan until you feel prepared.

Learn more about creating an escape plan

family drawing out fire escape plans with kids


Avoid these actions whenever possible.

Do not smoke when you’re sleepy or in bed

  • If you do smoke, make sure to put out your cigarette or other tobacco product completely.

Do not leave burning candles unattended

  • Place burning candles on a nonflammable surface, such as metal or glass.
  • Keep burning candles away from flammable items, such as curtains, furniture and clothing.

Do not put items near your space heater

  • Keep objects at least three feet away in all directions from a space heater.
  • Never connect your heater to spliced, do-it-yourself or damaged wiring.
Firefighter at a fire

Home fire safety

The American Red Cross provides free smoke alarms and fire education.

Contact us

David Carson

Community Risk Reduction Officer






Minneapolis Fire Department
350 Fifth St. S., Room 133
Minneapolis, MN 55415


Office hours

7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Monday – Friday