According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), 75% of civilian fire injuries and deaths occur in residential homes. Protecting yourself from these dangers is one of our top priorities as your fire department. At age 65, older adults are twice as likely as the population at large to be killed or injured by fires. By age 75, that risk increases to three times that of the general population—and to four times by age 85.

Cooking is the #1 cause of residential fires in the United States.

The best way to prevent this from happening to you is to STAY ALERT. Staying in the kitchen and staying focused on your tasks is the best way to prevent a potentially devastating kitchen fire.


- Set timers before placing items in the oven or on the stove to cook.
- Keep your cooking area tidy and free of items that can burn (oven mitts, food packaging, towels, paper recipes, etc).
- Turn off burners if you have to leave the kitchen.
- Keep handles turned in towards the center of the stove so they can't accidentally be pulled off by a curious kiddo.
- Have the lid handy just in case of a small fire.

For more information, visit the NFPA Cooking Safety Page

Steps Towards Being Fire Safe

Click on the following links to find resources on prevention, preparation, survival of residential fires. 

Fire Prevention

Visit this link for a home safety checklist you can use to assess how fire safe your home currently is and what you can change to make it safer. 

This includes things like: Smoke and CO alarm locations, electrical and candle safety, and escape plan importance. 

NFPA Fire Safety Checklist

Preparation Matters

Think about your individual needs BEFORE an emergency occurs.

Be sure to keep glasses, hearing aids, and mobility devices like a cane or wheelchair close to your bed at night.

If there is an emergency, you will be able to grab them quickly as you leave. 

Ready.Gov "Go Bag"

Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives

The placement of your smoke alarms and testing them every month can mean the difference between life and death in a fire.

NFPA Smoke Alarm Safety Tip Sheets

"Almost three out of five home fire deaths were caused by fires in properties with no smoke alarms (41%) or smoke alarms that failed to operate (16%)." - NFPA 

Evacuating Safely 

Safety evacuating during an emergency is a concern of many older adults.

Follow the link to watch videos on navigating stairs safely and having a home evacuation plan. 

How To Make a Home Fire Escape Plan

Videos on navigating stairs safely can be found in the videos section on our "Falls" Page. 

Follow this link for more information from the NFPA on Home Fire Safety

We can all help make the world a safer place by learning more about how and why fires start. NFPA offers a variety of resources, tips, and information to help keep you and your family safe from fire and related hazards.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often do I need to test my smoke alarms? 

Smoke alarms should be tested at least once a month. You can accomplish this by pushing the "test" button. If you hear "Beep! Beep! Beep!", your alarm is good to go!

If you hear a short "chirp" noise periodically, this means your smoke alarm needs a new battery or may need to be completely replaced. Smoke alarms expire after 10 years of their manufacture date, NOT from when you installed them. Their expiration date can be found on the side or bottom of the alarm. 

To review the Sounds of Fire Safety, CLICK HERE to watch a video from the NFPA! 

What do I do if I am deaf and/or visually impaired and cannot be alerted by a fire alarm? 

Smoke alarms with strobe lights can be purchased for individuals who are hearing impaired (BRK/First Alert, Gentex, and Kidde brands offer this type of smoke alarm). When people who are hard of hearing are asleep, an alert device that uses a loud, mixed, low-pitched sound can wake them. They may also find a pillow or bed shaker helpful. These devices are triggered by the sound of the smoke alarm. Do additional research to figure out which device would be most helpful for you and your family. Watch this video to get started on your research: WATCH SMOKE ALARMS FOR THOSE WHO ARE DEAF OR HARD OF HEARING

Equipment can be purchased at:, and

For additional information about Preparing for Emergencies for people with Disabilities, please follow this link to the Red Cross: Inclusive Preparedness Resources

Do I need a Carbon Monoxide Alarm? 

Yes. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas you cannot see, taste, or smell. It is often called "the invisible killer". CO poisoning can result from gas-, gasoline-, and diesel fueled vehicles idle inside garages, or from malfunctioning or improperly vented water heaters, clothes dryers, furnaces, and other heating appliances, and portable generators. 
Review the sounds a CO Alarm makes by watching this Video: CLICK HERE

Symptoms of CO Poisoning:
Headache, nausea, and drowsiness. 

Install CO alarms outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. Test every month. Use an alarm that is listed by a qualified testing laboratory. 

Does my medical oxygen put me at risk of home fires? 

Medical oxygen can cause material to ignite more easily and make fires burn at a faster rate. If you are on oxygen, you should not smoke, and never smoke in any area where medical oxygen is used. Keep oxygen cylinders at least 5 feet away from any heating source. Never use a sparking toy, an open flame such as match or lighter, a fireplace or stove, or any other device fueled by gas, kerosene, wood, or coal. 

What about wildfires? 

Wildfires are a natural part of Colorado’s forests. If you live in the wildland-urban interface in Colorado, where homes and other structures intermingle with wildland vegetation, you are at risk of being affected by wildfire. Planning ahead and taking action can increase the likelihood your home survives when a wildfire occurs.

Firefighters always do their best to reduce fire damage, but ultimately, it is your responsibility to protect your property from wildfire. Taking practical steps to prepare your home does not guarantee it will survive a wildfire, but it does improve the odds. Any work completed may also allow firefighters who might be present to safely engage the fire and attempt to protect your property. If fire and site conditions are unsafe, firefighters will not be there.

As you address the home ignition zone on your property, always start with the home or structure and work outwards. Remember, taking action to prepare for wildfire is not a one-time effort — it requires ongoing maintenance to give your home the best chance of surviving a wildfire.

Follow this link for a checklist on how to prepare your home for a wildfire: 
Colorado State Forest Service Checklist

Follow this link for a Wildfire Home Assessment Tool. This will help you determine your wildfire risk and allow you to reach out to our Risk Reduction Team about any help we can offer to reduce that risk. Feel free to contact us at any time with any questions or concerns you may have. 

Also check with your local older adult resources for free seasonal yard services they may offer so you can stay safe during peak wildfire seasons. 

What if I can't afford to purchase these safety devices? 

South Metro Risk Reduction Team is committed to providing safety devices to those who need them most. If you cannot afford smoke alarms, CO alarms, or bed shaker/strobe lights devices, please reach out to our Community Risk Reduction Team to assist you on our CONTACT US page. We can provide these for you for free. 

Also, if you are in need of a portable battery system for your medical equipment, you should apply for a grant! APPLY HERE!