Fire safetyBoulder Fire Department

Administrative Phone: 303-441-3350
Location: 3065 Center Green Drive, 80301
Fire Safety Education Coordinator: Kim Scott

Fire Safety Education

Fire Safety Advice

Would you know what to do if a fire started in your home? Take the time now to review fire safety facts and tips so you are prepared – just in case.

Fire Prevention

Always be aware of potential hazards in your home:

  • Studies have shown that many home fires are caused by improper installation of electrical devices.
    • Are your outlets overloaded with plugs from the TV, computer, printer, video game system, and stereo?
    • Are you overusing an extension cord?
    • Don't run electrical wires under rugs.
    • Make sure lamps and night-lights are not touching bedspreads, drapes, or other fabrics.
    • Use caution when using electric blankets.
  • Be especially vigilant about portable heaters.
    • The number of residential fires always goes up during colder months, peaking between December and February. Portable space heaters substantially contribute to this increase.
    • Never place a space heater where a pet could accidentally knock it over.
    • Never place a space heater too close to a bed.
    • Keep newspapers, magazines, and fabrics from curtains, clothes, or bedding away from space heaters, radiators, and fireplaces.
    • Heaters should be at least three feet from anything flammable.

Be careful in the kitchen...

Did you know that cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the United States? The kitchen is rife with ways for a fire to start: food left unsupervised on a stove or in an oven or microwave; grease spills; a dish towel too close to the burner; a toaster or toaster oven flare-up; a coffee pot accidentally left on. Always supervise your child while cooking, and make sure to practice safe cooking habits -- like turning all pot handles in so they can't be accidentally knocked over and not wearing loose-fitting clothing that could catch fire around the stove.

Check out the fireplace...

Fireplaces should be kept clean and covered with a screen to keep sparks from jumping out. Only wood should be burned in the fireplace -- paper and other materials can escape while burning and ignite nearby items. Never leave a fire burning unattended, and make sure a fire is completely extinguished before leaving the house or going to bed. Have the chimney professionally cleaned once a year.

Beware of cigarettes...

According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), cigarettes are the No. 1 cause of fire deaths in the United States and Canada, killing about 1,000 people per year. Most are started when ashes or butts fall into couches and chairs. If you smoke, be especially careful around upholstered furniture, never smoke in bed, and be sure cigarettes are completely out before you toss them into the trash.

Use candles safely...

As decorative candles become more popular, candle fires are on the rise. If you light candles, keep them out of reach of kids and pets, away from curtains and furniture, and extinguish them before you go to bed. Make sure candles are in sturdy holders made of non-flammable material that won't tip over.

According to the NFPA, the number of fires started by candles nearly doubles during the month of December.

Household Tips

Make sure all smoke alarms are in working order

It's a fact -- having a smoke alarm in the house cuts your risk of dying in a fire in half. If your house or apartment doesn't have smoke alarms, insist that your landlord install one on every level of your home. Make sure your smoke alarm works – check the batteries. Almost 60% of all fatal residential fires occur in homes that don't have smoke alarms that work.

Keep fire extinguishers handy

Be prepared for any accidents by having fire extinguishers strategically placed around your house -- at least one on each floor and in the kitchen (this one should be an all-purpose extinguisher, meaning it can be used on grease and electrical fires), the basement, the garage, or workshop area. Again you’re your house does not have a fire extinguisher, insist that your landlord provide you with at least one for

Plan escape routes

Planned escape routes are a necessity, especially if a fire were to occur during the night. Go through your house and think about the possible exits. You should have in your mind two escape routes from each room and make sure that furniture and other objects are not blocking doorways or windows - these may be your only way out in a fire. If you live in an apartment building, make sure any safety bars on windows are removable in an emergency. Be sure to know the locations of the closest stairwells or fire escapes and where they lead.

Fires spread quickly and most fire-related deaths are not from burns but from smoke inhalation - dangerous fumes can overcome a person in just a few minutes.


  • crawl under the smoke to safety, staying as low to the ground as possible (smoke always rises)
  • touch any door (not the doorknob) to see if it is hot, and if it is, do not to open it -- find another exit
  • locate the nearest stairway marked "Fire Exit" or other fire escape if you live in an apartment building - always avoid elevators during a fire
  • never stop to take personal belongings or pets or to make a phone call (even to 911) while evacuating
  • never go back into a burning building once safely outside
  • stop, drop, and roll to extinguish flames if an article of clothing catches on fire
  • practice fire drills at home

Fires are frightening and can cause panic. By rehearsing different scenarios, you will be less likely to waste precious time trying to figure out what to do.

Being prepared is the best way to protect yourself and your roommates from a fire. A few minutes of planning now may save lives later on.