Home Fire Safety, Part 2 (Public Service Announcement)

The National Farm Safety Association notes that the best fire safety system is a person! The best smoke detector is the human nose but that is only true if the person is alert, awake, and responsible. Since this is not the case 24 hours a day, a reliable automatic system should be used.

Detectors are good early warning devices, providing more time to get out in the event of a fire. Both heat and smoke detectors are available and you should have some of each type. When using these devices, you should take the following precautions:

  • Test the devices frequently and make sure battery operated detectors have new batteries installed at least once a year.
  • Never place a detector in front of a wall or ceiling air duct outlet.
  • Make sure they are installed properly and that you have one on every level of you home, including your basement and attic. Even more detectors should be installed if you have a large home.

In addition to heat and smoke detectors, fire extinguishers are an important device to have on hand. Although they shouldn't be used on large-spreading fires, they are useful in putting out small, contained fires. Note the following tips about fire extinguishers:

  • Use the fire extinguisher only after people have left the house and the fire department has been called.
  • Fire extinguishers come in many sizes and types. When choosing one, be sure you know what kind of fires you expect to put out with it.
  • The NFPA recommends buying only fire extinguishers tested in accordance with the American National Standards Institute guidelines. Testing information is included on the label.
  • Make sure you learn how to use a fire extinguisher properly, and be sure that all family members have read the operating instructions and understand them.
  • Keep extinguishers where they are readily available and easily accessible to all family members.
  • Inspect your fire extinguishers frequently and refill if necessary.


  1. Make sure everyone has exited the house.
  2. Call the fire department.
  3. Use the fire extinguisher only after steps a and b.

This public service announcement was produced by the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH). Publication date: 1994.

Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More