Fire and Injury Prevention

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Smoke alarms are a key part of a home fire escape plan. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast. Working smoke alarms give you early warning so you can get outside quickly.

  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Install alarms in the basement. Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
  • It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds they all sound.
  • Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
  • Today’s smoke alarms will be more technologically advanced to respond to a multitude of fire conditions, yet mitigate false alarms.
  • A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.
  • People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.
  • Smoke alarms are an important part of a home fire escape plan.

Link to request a free smoke alarm from the Red Cross


 In the interest of home fire safety, the Grand Forks Fire Department DOES NOT encourage or recommend the use of portable electric or kerosene heaters.  However, if a portable heater is used, please take the following precautions.

  • Keep all portable heaters 5 feet from combustible materials, (i.e. furniture, bedding, and clothes).
  • Check for frayed cords.
  • Check heaters for a safety shut-off device.  Heaters must have this device.
  • Use the correct fuel.
  • Do not overfill.
  • When refueling, always turn off the heater and let it cool completely.  Only refuel the heater outside.
  • Store kerosene in a vented metal container with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Never store kerosene or other flammable liquids near heat sources or in your home.
  • Do not operate when you are sleeping or if you leave the home.
  • Install UL-approved smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.                                                                    

Grilling safety video

  • Move the grill away from siding, decking, and other things that can catch fire.
  • Stay with the grill the entire time you're cooking.
  • Use long-handled barbecue tools when cooking on the grill.
  • Use a metal screen over wood-burning fires to keep sparks from floating out.
  • Turn off or put out fires before you leave the backyard.
  • Build campfires at least 15 feet away from tent walls, shrubs or other things that burn.
  • The best way to stay safe from fireworks is to not use them.
To prevent fires, the Fire Department encourages residents to:
  • Install smoke detectors on each level of their home and outside of sleeping areas.
  • Have an evacuation plan and make sure all family members know it.
  • Keep cigarettes, lighters and matches out of sight and reach of children.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Use large ashtrays and douse butts and ashes with water before discarding them.
  • Never overload circuits or utilize more than one appliance in an electrical outlet.
  • Don't block exits or stairs.
  • Annually clean chimney and use fire-proof glass doors for fireplaces.
  • Never use security gates or bars.
  • Never store gas-powered tools inside the home (i.e. lawnmower, chainsaw, and other equipment that uses a flammable liquid).
  • Sleep with bedroom door closed.  This will slow the lethal spread of any smoke and fire.  


If a fire should occur, take the following steps:

  • Test doors with back of hand before opening.
  • Use windows as an alternative escape route.
  • Stuff clothing materials at bottom of doors if you are trapped, and hang a sheet or blanket outside of windows.
  • Crawl low under smoke.
  • Have a predetermined meeting spot, outside of your house, such as a neighbors' home.
  • In a high-rise fire, ever use elevators. Use stairs only.
  • Once out, stay out. Never re-enter a burning home.


Sparky Kids Corner

Home Fire Safety for Older Adults