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Be Fire Safe PA

The Pennsylvania Office of the State Fire Commissioner provides important, year-round and seasonal fire prevention information to help Pennsylvanians stay safe and healthy.

Kitchen Safety

Cooking fires are the top cause of home fires and injuries. The leading cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking.

    • Stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.
    • Simmering, baking or roasting? Check food regularly, stay in the kitchen while it's cooking, and use a timer.
    • Be alert. Don't let kids or teleworking tasks distract you from monitoring your cooking.
    • Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stovetop. This includes oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels, and curtains.
    • Sleepy or have had alcohol? Don't use the stove or stovetop.
    • Keep a lid nearby to smother small grease fires.

If you have a cooking fire:

    • Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
    • Call 911 or the local emergency number after you leave.
    • If you try to fight the fire: Be sure others get out and you have a clear way out.
    • Smother small grease fires by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the stovetop. Keep the pan covered until it has completely cooled.

E-bikes, Scooters, and Hoverboards

 Battery-powered devices like these are popular holiday gifts. They also can cause fires.

    • Only purchase and use devices, batteries, and charging equipment that are listed by a nationally recognized testing lab and labeled accordingly. 
    • Only use the battery and charger that were designed for and came with the device. 
    • Do not keep charging the device or device battery after it is fully charged. 
    • Store e-bikes, e-scooters, and batteries away from exit doors and anything that can get hot or catch fire.  If possible, store them outside. 
    • Stop using the e-bike or e-scooter if you notice any of these problems with the battery: Unusual odor, change in color, too much heat, change in shape, leaking, smoking, or not keeping a charge. 
    • Do not put lithium-ion batteries in the trash. Recycling is always the best option. Take the batteries to a battery recycling location or contact your local waste department for disposal instructions. 
    • Only have device repairs performed by a qualified professional.

Check Your Heating System

 There are a few things homeowners can do to ensure their heating systems are well maintained and safe to use:

    • Regularly replace furnace filters.
    • Keep areas around your furnace free of clutter and combustible material. Never set items on top of your furnace.
    • Keep combustible materials a safe distance from vent/exhaust lines.

If you notice any issues with your home heating system, contact a professional immediately. Certified HVAC contractors often offer preventative care services that include cleaning that reduce fire risk but have the added benefit of reducing utility costs.

Fireplace Safety

Modern and older fireplaces have a way of collecting dirt and debris over their lifetimes. It's important to keep fireplaces clear of debris and schedule annual inspections before use. If your home is equipped with a gas fireplace, have all the lines and connections inspected before use.  In addition to these recommendations, here are a few other helpful tips:

    • Fireplace screens, guards, or glass doors are helpful safety devices to keep hot ash and sparks contained inside the fireplace.
    • Spare wood, and other combustibles should be stored at least five feet away from the fireplace.
    • Do not overload a fireplace.
    • Never leave a fire unattended.
    • Burn seasoned hardwoods, that have been stored in a safe and dry environment for at least six months.

Learn More

To learn more about fire prevention and safety, visit these websites: