Fire Safety Every year, thousands of people are killed or injured in home fires, and nearly 1 in every 5 victims is a child age five or under. Smoking is the leading cause of home fires, but in the winter months, fires due to heating equipment cause nearly as many fires. Cooking-related fires are the third most common cause of home fires. Following are the best ways to keep your family safe: Install fire/smoke detectors in the bedrooms and hallways of your home. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, "Only one-fifth of the home fire deaths from 1989-1998 were caused by fires in which a smoke alarm was present and operated." Check fire alarm batteries monthly, and change them twice a year (recommended at the beginning and end of daylight savings time). Keep a fire extinguisher in the home, preferably in the kitchen. Plan a fire escape route out of your home, and have fire drills so the whole family knows what to do. Teach your child to "stop, drop, and roll" if their clothing catches fire. Keep emergency numbers near the phone. Smokers should make sure cigarettes are fully extinguished when finished, and should not leave matches and lighters within reach of children. Have your fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned on a regular basis. Check and replace worn electrical cords. Make sure all heating equipment is in good repair and is correctly installed and maintained. Turn off space heaters when leaving the room or the house, and keep them at least three feet away from anything that can burn, such as bedding, curtains, etc. Keep decorative candles out of the reach of children and away from anything that can burn or is combustible. Teach children not to play with matches, lighters or candles and to not play near fireplaces, wood stoves or barbecue grills.