October 9, 2023

Fire Prevention Week, October 8-14, is a reminder that more than 75,000 workplace fires occur annually, making it the most common workplace emergency according to OSHA. With more people working remotely, practicing fire safety at home is essential to protecting employees, families and businesses.  

Here are ways to prevent fires in home offices: 

Proper Electrical Safety: 

  • Regularly inspect electrical cords and plugs for fraying and replace them as needed. Pets may chew on electrical cords to expose wires and create a risk of electrical sparks and fires. 
  • Ensure electrical outlets are not overloaded with too many devices or power strips. Avoid daisy-chaining multiple power strips or extension cords. 
  • Invest in surge protectors to safeguard electronic equipment. 

Space Heaters: 

  • Keep space heaters away from flammable materials like curtains, paper, and furniture. 
  • Ensure space heaters are on a stable surface and not placed near walkways or where they can be easily knocked over. 
  • Never leave a space heater unattended and turn it off when you leave the room. 

Cooking Safety: 

  • Always keep a close eye on what you’re cooking. For foods with longer cook times, such as those that are simmering or baking, set a timer to help monitor them carefully.  
  • Clear a cooking area of combustible items and keep away anything that can burn, such as dish towels, oven mitts, food packaging, and paper towels. 
  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove. Keep a lid nearby. If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. 
  • Create a “kid and pet free zone” of at least three feet around the cooking area. 

Smoking Safety: 

  • If you smoke, do so outside, and always use a proper receptacle for cigarette butts and ashes. 
  • Do not smoke indoors, especially near flammable materials. 

Candle and Open Flame Safety: 

  • Avoid using candles or open flames in your workspace, as they pose a significant fire risk.  

Smoke Detectors and Fire Extinguishers: 

  • Ensure your remote workspace is equipped with working smoke detectors. Test them regularly and replace batteries as needed. 
  • Have a fire extinguisher within reach and know how to use it. Ensure it is regularly inspected and maintained.  

Safe Storage: 

  • Store flammable materials such as paper, cleaning supplies and chemicals away from heat sources. 

Fire Prevention Plan: 

  • In the event a fire occurs in your home, have an emergency plan in place, including escape routes and a designated meeting point outside. Communicate this plan with household members. 

Understanding how to prevent fires and respond to fire emergencies is essential to taking swift action in an emergency to reduce damage and save lives. 

Need Fire Extinguisher Safety training? Click here.  



Andrea Foster-Mack