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An emergency can happen at any time. It is important to make sure that you and your family are prepared. To get started, remember these 3 easy steps; Make a Kit, Make a Plan, and Stay Informed.



Some basics to include:


• Food and water for each person (and pet) to last at least 3 days.

   ~ Include one gallon of water

      per person, per day.

   ~ Non-perishable foods (ready-

      to-eat canned foods, peanut

      butter, fruits, vegetables, and



•  Battery-operated AM/FM radio, flashlights, and extra batteries.


•  Car chargers for cell phones and chargers for laptops. 


•  Children’s games.


•  Several-day supply of prescription medications.


•  Eyeglasses, dentures, hearing aids with extra batteries.


•  Lists of medical conditions, prescriptions, and allergies of each family member.


•  Copies of important documents, such as birth certificates, insurance policies, health insurance cards, and 

passports in a waterproof container.


•  Photos of family members and pets, in case they get lost.


•  Cash, in case of a power outage and ATMs aren’t working.


•  Small tools like a manual can opener and a wrench, or pliers to turn off utilities.


•  Formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, blankets, and toys, if you have babies


•  Pet supplies, such as tags, leash, medications, crates, and litter.

for more information on disaster‐supply kits.)




 •  Choose a meeting place near 

your home and another meeting

place outside of your neighbor-

hood in case your family is not 

together when an emergency 


 •  Sit down together a 

make a family communication plan. 


To learn more, visit

make-a-plan or

click here for RIEMA Family Communications Plan

•  Know evacuation routes and 

possible shelters in your area.


•  Have a plan for any pets, as 

most disaster relief shelters do 

not allow pets.


•  Contact life-support system suppliers for things like oxygen tanks, respirators, and ventilators to learn how they can provide support before a power outage.

    ~ To alert local emergency

       responders about a family

       member’s special health care

       needs before an emergency,

       consider using the Rhode 

       Island Special Needs                  Emergency Registry. For              more information, visit

(see below.)


•  Consider different scenarios in an emergency and role play what you would do in each case.

•  For ways to help children get 

involved in preparedness planning, visit and for fun tools and tips.





•  During an emergency, stay tuned to radio, television, and social media for alerts and information.


•  Follow advice from local and state officials. 


•  Heed Wireless Emergency Alerts, which are automatic texts sent to you in an emergency (no sign-up required).  Learn more at

Welcome to Ready Kids!

Disasters happen everywhere, and every member of the family can prepare. Preparedness for the future starts today.

Whether you’re a kid or teen yourself, a parent or loved one, or work with youth, Ready Kids has tools (including games and

resource library) and information/resources to help before, during and after disasters.


Helping Children Cope With Emergencies

                - article by the CDC

Home preparations for an emergency, from the CDC

Special Needs Emergency Registry

Enrolling in the Special Needs Emergency Registry lets police, fire, and other first responders in your community better prepare for and respond to your needs during a hurricane, storm, or other emergency.


Many people may need extra help during a time of emergency, including people who:

  • Use life support systems such as oxygen, respirator, ventilator, dialysis, pacemaker, or who have chronic conditions and require treatment (e.g., diabetics requiring insulin);

  • Have mobility needs and use a wheelchair, scooter, walker, cane, or other mobility device;

  • Are visually impaired, blind, hard of hearing, or Deaf;

  • Have speech, cognitive, developmental or behavioral health disabilities; or

  • Use assistive animals or a prosthesis.

The information submitted to the Rhode Island Special Needs Emergency Registry is shared with local and state first responders and emergency management officials. Your information is held confidentially and only accessed to assist in your safety and well-being. The Department of Health and Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency have worked with E-911 to notify first responders when they are responding to a household that may have someone enrolled in the Registry. While enrolling in the special needs registry does not guarantee assistance, this notification allows first responders additional time to consider how to best respond to that incident. Please note that strict confidentiality is maintained at all times and only those who have a reason to access the information are authorized to do so.

To register, go to


How to Prepare for Emergencies

Preparing for Disaster During COVID-19:  our guidance on preparing for emergencies while still protecting yourself from COVID-19. (Available in multiple languages.)

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)

Coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.  


There may be times before, during or after a disaster when it is unsafe to stay in your home, school, or workplace. In Rhode Island, the decision about whether to evacuate is made by local officials. Evacuation notices can happen quickly and without warning, so it is important to be prepared. Download the Evacuation Plan & Checklist Guide to prepare before an evacuation order is made. Also check out the Evacuation Map so that you know the safest route to take.

The RI Dept. of Education and all public schools have an Emergency Preparedness Plan as well.  To learn more, click HERE!

Emergency Preparedness for People With

Disabilities or Specific Medical Needs

(See the Special Needs Emergency Registry Above)


People who have a disability or chronic medical issue may be more at risk and vulnerable during an emergency. Therefore, these folks need to take action and prepare a little differently (now!) should an emergency occur.   

Emergency Plan for a Natural Disaster

It is important for cancer patients and their families to have a plan in case of a catastrophic event or natural disaster. Learn how to make a cancer emergency plan with your family and your health care provider. - from the Mesothelioma Center

Disaster Safety For People With Disabilities - from the American Red Cross\

Emergency Preparedness for Older Adults - from the CDC

Disaster Preparedness During the COVID-19 Pandemic - There are actions that you can take to prepare while still protecting yourself from COVID-19 during a disaster - from the American Red Cross


Keeping Children with Disabilities Safe in Emergencies from CDC. 


Disasters and Emergencies: Keeping Children and Youth Safe - from Family Voices.


Emergency Preparedness for Individuals with Disabilities - from

Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and other Special Needs is a booklet from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Red Cross that helps people with disabilities prepare for all kinds of emergencies.


It is NEVER safe to leave

a toddler, disabled person or pet locked in a car,

even in the winter.

If you have a toddler in your household, lock your cars, even in your own driveway.  Kids play in cars or wander outside and get into a car and can die in 10 minutes! A reported 51 young children died in hot cars in 2019! and in 2020, a death was reported as early as April. Cars can heat up quickly when left in the sun. Find out more.  Get resources to remind you or friends with children in both English and Spanish from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  You will find vital information about the dangers of leaving children, pets or anyone with limited mobility alone in a car even for a few minutes in what might seem like mild weather.



Extreme Cold:

The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA)


Winter Weather/Extreme Cold

During winters in Rhode Island, we can expect snow or blizzards, ice, or a period of extremely cold temperatures. Snowstorms can bring an inch or two of snow or more than a foot of snow. When snow is falling at a fast rate, there are winds of 35 miles per hour or more, and visibility is near zero, it is a blizzard. Many times, there is no precipitation, but outdoor temperatures are colder than average for several days in a row.

   Winter storms are often called “deceptive killers” because most deaths that occur are indirectly related to the actual storm. The most common causes of deaths during winter weather are motor vehicle accidents, heart attacks (caused by over exertion while shoveling snow or ice), or asphyxiation from heating sources that are not properly ventilated or are not approved sources of heat. House fires occur more frequently during the winter because people do not follow safety directions when using alternate heat sources or because people leave fires or space heaters unattended.

Be prepared for the cold, as well as the winter weather. Download our Winter Weather Preparedness Guide to keep your family prepared for anything that winter has to offer.

Extreme Heat:


The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA)


During periods of extreme heat and/or humidity, the following communities will have cooling centers open to the public for those who need to seek shelter from extreme heat. If you do not see your community listed contact your local municipalities for more information. If you need additional assistance call 2-1-1. To find a cooling center near you, CLICK HERE!  

Extreme Heat Safety Tips - CLICK HERE!

Heat Related Illness Guide - CLICK HERE!

Heat illnesses have the potential to be life-threatening. That is why it is important to make sure you and your family are prepared to beat the heat. Download the Extreme Heat Safety Guide to learn how you can prepare for a heat wave and extreme heat. The Extreme Heat Safety Guide also contains information about heat illnesses and how to treat them.

More Heat resources:



Visit for the current air quality forecast.  

  • Consider using RIPTA buses for travel. On air quality alert days, all RIPTA regular bus routes are free.

If you are having difficulty paying your energy bill, there are resources to help - CLICK HERE!




Personal protection is the first line of defense against mosquitoes that may carry WNV (West Nile Virus), EEE (Eastern equine encephalitis), or other diseases – most of which have had cases in RI and nearby MA and CT - and the most effective way to avoid infection. With WNV and EEE established throughout the state, DEM and RIDOH remind the public to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds and prevent being bitten, whenever possible. The following precautions are advised.


Protect yourself


  • Put screens on windows and doors. Fix screens that are loose or have holes.

  • At sunrise and sundown (when mosquitoes that carry EEE are most active), consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning. If you must be outside, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants and use bug spray.

  • Use EPA-approved bug spray with one of the following active ingredients: DEET (20-30% strength); picaridin, IR3535; and oil of lemon eucalyptus or paramenthane. Always read the label and follow all directions and precautions.

  • Do not use bug spray with DEET on infants under two months of age. Children should be careful not to rub their eyes after bug spray has been applied on their skin. Wash children’s hands with soap and water to remove any bug spray when they return indoors.

  • Put mosquito netting over playpens and baby carriages.

Get rid of mosquito breeding grounds


  • Get rid of anything around your house and yard that collects water. Just one cup of water can produce hundreds of mosquitoes; an unused tire containing water can produce thousands of mosquitoes.

  • Clean your gutters and downspouts so that they can drain properly.

  • Remove any water from unused swimming pools, wading pools, boats, planters, trash and recycling bins, tires, and anything else that collects water, and cover them.

  • Remove or treat any shallow water that can accumulate on top of a pool cover. Larvicide treatments, such as Mosquito Dunks can be applied to kill immature mosquitoes. This environmentally-friendly product is available at many hardware and garden stores and on-line.

  • Change the water in birdbaths at least two times a week and rinse out birdbaths once a week.


Best practices for horse owners


Horses are particularly susceptible to WNV and EEE. Horse owners are advised to vaccinate their animals early in the season and practice the following:


  • Remove or cover areas where standing water can collect.

  • Avoid putting animals outside at dawn, dusk, or during the night when mosquitoes are most active.

  • Insect-proof facilities where possible and use approved repellents frequently.

  • Monitor animals for symptoms of fever and/or neurological signs (such as stumbling, moodiness, loss of appetite) and report all suspicious cases to a veterinarian immediately. If you are unsure if your horse is properly vaccinated, you should consult with your veterinarian.


Visit for additional mosquito prevention tips, videos, and local data. DEM and RIDOH also remind Rhode Islanders to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites when traveling to Zika-affected countries. Pregnant women and women who are considering becoming pregnant should not travel to countries with active transmission of Zika.


Mosquitoes are trapped weekly by DEM and tested at the RIDOH State Health Laboratories. DEM issues advisories on test results from July through September, with additional reports as necessary.Typically, positive test results trigger additional trapping to assess risk.  


For more information about DEM divisions and programs, visit Follow us on Facebook at or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.




This page describes what to do in an active shooter event. Remember during an active shooting to RUN. HIDE. FIGHT.

Be Informed

  • Sign up for an active shooter training.

  • If you see something, say something to the authorities right away.

  • Sign up to receive local emergency alerts and register your contact information with any work-sponsored alert system.

  • Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers.

Make a Plan

  • Make a plan with your family and make sure everyone knows what to do if confronted with an active shooter.

  • Wherever you go look for the two nearest exits, have an escape path in mind and identify places you could hide if necessary.

  • Understand the plans for individuals with disabilities or other access and functional needs.


RUN and escape if possible.

  • Getting away from the shooter or shooters is the top priority.

  • Leave your belongings behind and get away.

  • Help others escape, if possible, but evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow.

  • Warn and prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be.

  • Call 9-1-1 when you are safe and describe the shooter, location and weapons.

HIDE if escape is not possible.

  • Get out of the shooter’s view and stay very quiet.

  • Silence all electronic devices and make sure they won’t vibrate.

  • Lock and block doors, close blinds and turn off lights.

  • Don’t hide in groups. Spread out along walls or hide separately to make it more difficult for the shooter.

  • Try to communicate with police silently. Use text message or social media to tag your location or put a sign in a window.

  • Stay in place until law enforcement gives you the all clear.

  • Your hiding place should be out of the shooter's view and provide protection if shots are fired in your direction.

FIGHT as an absolute last resort.

  • Commit to your actions and act as aggressively as possible against the shooter.

  • Recruit others to ambush the shooter with makeshift weapons like chairs, fire extinguishers, scissors, books, etc.

  • Be prepared to cause severe or lethal injury to the shooter.

  • Throw items and improvise weapons to distract and disarm the shooter.


  • Keep hands visible and empty.

  • Know that law enforcement’s first task is to end the incident and they may have to pass injured along the way.

  • Officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns or handguns and may use pepper spray or tear gas to control the situation.

  • Officers will shout commands and may push individuals to the ground for their safety.

  • Follow law enforcement instructions and evacuate in the direction they come from unless otherwise instructed.

  • Take care of yourself first, and then you may be able to help the wounded before first responders arrive.

  • If the injured are in immediate danger, help get them to safety.

  • While you wait for first responders to arrive, provide first aid. Apply direct pressure to wounded areas and use tourniquets if you have been trained to do so.

  • Turn wounded people onto their sides if they are unconscious and keep them warm.

  • Consider seeking professional help for you and your family to cope with the long-term effects of the trauma.

More Resources:

active shooter.jpg


Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk of serious flu complications.  There are two main types of influenza (flu) virus: Types A and B. The influenza A and B viruses that routinely spread in people (human influenza viruses) are responsible for seasonal flu epidemics each year.


The best way to prevent flu

is by getting vaccinated each year.

For more information, visit:
or call 1-800-CDC-INFO


More Information about Flu Viruses

Take everyday preventive actions

to stop the spread of germs.

  • Take everyday preventive actions that are always recommended to reduce the spread of flu.

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

    • If you are sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

  • Cover coughs and sneezes.

    • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.

  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with viruses that cause flu.


Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

  • If you are sick with flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat your illness. Flu antiviral drugs ARE NOT designed to treat COVID-19.

  • Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter.

  • Antiviral drugs can make flu illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complicationsFor people with high risk factors , treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness versus a very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.

  • Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick, but starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high risk factor or is very sick from flu.

  • If you are at higher risk from flu and get flu symptoms, call your health care provider early so you can be treated with flu antivirals if needed. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking this drug.


Yup, we just had an earthquake in New England (11/8/20).  It happens more often than you'd think.  Be prepared ...

Screen Shot 2020-11-10 at 4.47.37 PM.png

If an earthquake happens, protect yourself right away:

  • If you are in a car, pull over and stop. Set your parking brake.

  • If you are in bed, turn face down and cover your head and neck with a pillow.

  • If you are outdoors, stay outdoors away from buildings.

  • If you are inside, stay and do not run outside and avoid doorways.

1. Drop (or Lock)

Wherever you are, drop down to your hands and knees and hold onto something sturdy. If you’re using a wheelchair or walker with a seat, make sure your wheels are locked and remain seated until the shaking stops.

2. Cover

Cover your head and neck with your arms. If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter. If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows). Crawl only if you can reach better cover without going through an area with more debris. Stay on your knees or bent over to protect vital organs.

3. Hold On

If you are under a table or desk, hold on with one hand and be ready to move with it if it moves. If seated and unable to drop to the floor, bend forward, cover your head with your arms and hold on to your neck with both hands.

Earthquake Resources:

Earthquake Informational Poster (PDF)

Learn About Earthquakes - Click HERE!




Preparing for Snowstorms - info from FEMA - click HERE!

Preparing for Snowstorms - latest storm info from RHODE ISLAND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY on Twitter and their main website



Floods happen when excessive amounts of water cannot be contained or absorbed into the ground. Some floods develop slowly, while flash floods can happen in a few minutes without any visible warnings of rain.  Floods are one of the most common hazards in the country. In Rhode Island, we are more likely to experience a flood during the spring and summer seasons.


Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency

645 New London Ave., Cranston, RI 02920


Info/Resources on RI Flood Emergencies CLICK HERE!

Flood Preparedness Guide  


More Resources:






The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA)


Hurricane Preparedness

When preparing for hurricane season the needs of all members of a household should be considered. If a household includes a young child, senior citizen or a person with a disability or severe illness, special steps to assist them may be necessary and should be incorporated into all emergency planning. Pets require special handling as well, especially since most shelters do not accept animals.

   Hurricanes can produce storm surges of water along the coastline, high winds, tornadoes, heavy rains and flooding. In some hurricanes, wind alone can cause a lot of damage such as downed trees and power lines, collapsing weak areas of homes, businesses or other buildings. Roads and bridges can be washed away and homes can be ruined by flood waters.

Some common information to help prepare for hurricane season is to Make a Kit, Make a Plan and Stay Informed. For tips on being prepared before, during, and after a hurricane, download our Hurricane Preparedness Guide.


Lightning strikes the United States about 25 million times a year. Although most lightning occurs in the summer, people can be struck at any time of year. Lightning kills 20 or more people in the United States each year, and hundreds more are severely injured. This website will teach you how to stay safe and offer insight into the science of lightning. You'll find animated books about lightningsafety tips for all kinds of situations, GAMES FOR KIDS and resources for teachers. You'll learn about lightning victims and survivors. Explore our site, and come and visit often! 

En Espanol


More Lightning Resources:

Screen Shot 2020-07-12 at 2.40.29 PM.png

Tips for staying safe during an electrical storm, and yes, you can be struck twice.


This website serves as the State of Rhode Island’s primary portal for information and resources on climate change and resiliency. It houses resources for a variety of audiences including RI citizens, State agencies, municipalities, non-profit organizations, and the business community. It addresses how Rhode Islanders are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as how to adapt to the projected effects of climate change such as coastal hazards like sea level rise and storm surge, as well as high heat, drought, and inland flooding.


State of RI: Office of Fire Marshall


If you are experiencing an emergency that requires police, fire, or medical assistance, dial 9-1-1 immediately.

24/7 Arson Tipline: 401-383-7723

Wild Fires: Only you can prevent wildfires, and here’s how! While at home or on camping trips, follow these important safety tips! 

Design a coloring book with Smokey Bear!

More info on Wild Fires - visit RIEMA (Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency




In just two minutes a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes a residence can be engulfed in flames.

Learn About Fires

  • Fire is FAST! In less than 30 seconds a small flame can turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house or for it to be engulfed in flames.

  • Fire is HOT! Heat is more threatening than flames. Room temperatures in a fire can be 100 degrees at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. Inhaling this super-hot air will scorch your lungs and melt clothes to your skin.

  • Fire is DARK! Fire starts bright, but quickly produces black smoke and complete darkness.

  • Fire is DEADLY! Smoke and toxic gases kill more people than flames do. Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a 3-to-1 ratio.

Before a Fire

*Create and Practice a Fire Escape Plan


In the event of a fire, remember that every second counts. Escape plans help you get out of your home quickly. Twice each year, practice your home fire escape plan. Some tips to consider when preparing this plan include:

  • Find two ways to get out of each room in the event the primary way is blocked by fire or smoke.

  • A secondary route might be a window onto a neighboring roof or a collapsible ladder for escape from upper story windows.

  • Make sure that windows are not stuck, screens can be taken out quickly and that security bars can be properly opened.

  • Practice feeling your way out of the house in the dark or with your eyes closed.

  • Teach children not to hide from firefighters.

*Smoke Alarms

A working smoke alarm significantly increases your chances of surviving a deadly home fire.

  • Install both ionization AND photoelectric smoke alarms, OR dual sensor smoke alarms, which contain both ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors.

  • Test batteries monthly.

  • Replace batteries in battery-powered and hard-wired smoke alarms at least once a year (except non-replaceable 10-year lithium batteries).

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement, both inside and outside of sleeping areas.

  • Replace the entire smoke alarm unit every 8-10 years or according to manufacturer’s instructions.

  • Never disable a smoke alarm while cooking – it can be a deadly mistake.

*Smoke Alarm Safety for People with Access or Functional Needs

  • Audible alarms for visually impaired people should pause with a small window of silence between each successive cycle so that they can listen to the instructions or voices of others.

  • Smoke alarms with a vibrating pad or flashing light are available for the hearing impaired. Contact your local fire department for information about obtaining a flashing or vibrating smoke alarm.

  • Smoke alarms with a strobe light outside the home to catch the attention of neighbors and emergency call systems for summoning help are also available.

*More Fire Safety Tips

  • Make digital copies of valuable documents and records like birth certificates.

  • Sleep with your door closed.

  • Contact your local fire department for information on training on the proper use and maintenance of fire extinguishers.

  • Consider installing an automatic fire sprinkler system in your residence.

During a Fire

  • Crawl low under any smoke to your exit. Heavy smoke and poisonous gases collect first along the ceiling.

  • Before opening a door, feel the doorknob and door. If either is hot, or if there is smoke coming around the door, leave the door closed and use your second way out.

  • If you open a door, open it slowly. Be ready to shut it quickly if heavy smoke or fire is present.

  • If you can’t get to someone needing assistance, leave the home and call 9-1-1 or the fire department. Tell the emergency operator where the person is located.

  • If pets are trapped inside your home, tell firefighters right away.

  • If you can’t get out, close the door and cover vents and cracks around doors with cloth or tape to keep smoke out. Call 9-1-1 or your fire department. Say where you are and signal for help at the window with a light-colored cloth or a flashlight.

  • If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop, and roll – stop immediately, drop to the ground, and cover your face with your hands.  Roll over and over or back and forth until the fire is out. If you or someone else cannot stop, drop, and roll, smother the flames with a blanket or towel. Use cool water to treat the burn immediately for three to five minutes. Cover with a clean, dry cloth. Get medical help right away by calling 9-1-1 or the fire department.


Fire Escape Planning for Older Adults and People with Access or Functional Needs

  • Live near an exit. You'll be safest on the ground floor if you live in an apartment building. If you live in a multi-story home, arrange to sleep on the ground floor and near an exit.

  • If you use a walker or wheelchair, check all exits to be sure you get through the doorways.

  • Make any necessary accommodations – such as providing exit ramps and widening doorways – to facilitate an emergency escape.

  • Speak to your family members, building manager or neighbors about your fire safety plan and practice it with them.

  • Contact your local fire department's non-emergency line and explain your special needs. Ask emergency providers to keep your special needs information on file.

  • Keep a phone near your bed and be ready to call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number if a fire occurs.


After a Fire

The following checklist serves as a quick reference and guide for you to follow after a fire strikes.

  • Contact your local disaster relief service, such as The Red Cross, if you need temporary housing, food and medicines.

  • If you are insured, contact your insurance company for detailed instructions on protecting your property, conducting inventory and contacting fire damage restoration companies. If you are not insured, try contacting private organizations for help.

  • Check with the fire department to make sure your residence is safe to enter. Watch out for any structural damage caused by the fire.

  • The fire department should make sure that utilities are either safe to use or are disconnected before they leave the site. DO NOT attempt to reconnect utilities yourself.

  • Conduct an inventory of damaged property and items. Do not throw away any damaged goods until after an inventory is made.

  • Begin saving receipts for any money you spend related to fire loss. The receipts may be needed later by the insurance company and for verifying losses claimed on your income tax.

  • Notify your mortgage company of the fire.

Prevent Home Fires

Home fires are preventable! The following are simple steps that each of us can take to prevent a tragedy.



  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time turn off the stove.

  • Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.

  • Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a "kid-free zone" of three feet around the stove.

  • Position barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from siding and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.



  • Smoke outside and completely stub-out butts in an ashtray or a can filled with sand.

  • Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away. Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash can.

  • Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used, even if it is turned off. Oxygen can be explosive and makes fire burn hotter and faster.

  • Be alert – don’t smoke in bed! If you are sleepy, have been drinking or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy, put your cigarette out first.


Electrical and Appliance Safety

  • Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately and do not run cords under rugs or furniture.

  • If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.

  • Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker.


                  Article:  Understanding Your Outlets

                                  to Avoid a House Fire



Portable Space Heaters

  • Keep combustible objects at least three feet away from portable heating devices.

  • Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

  • Check to make the portable heater has a thermostat control mechanism and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over.

  • Only use crystal clear K-1 kerosene in kerosene heaters. Never overfill it. Use the heater in a well-ventilated room.


Fireplaces and Woodstoves

  • Inspect and clean woodstove pipes and chimneys annually and check monthly for damage or obstructions.

  • Use a fireplace screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks.

  • Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.



  • Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching children that fire is a tool, not a toy.

  • Store matches and lighters out of children's reach and sight, preferably in a locked cabinet.

  • Never leave children unattended near operating stoves or burning candles, even for a short time.


More Prevention Tips

  • Never use a stove range or oven to heat your home.

  • Keep combustible and flammable liquids away from heat sources.

  • Portable generators should NEVER be used indoors and should only be refueled outdoors or in well ventilated areas.

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The American Red Cross is making homes fire resistant through the Red Cross Home Fire Preparedness Campaign. At no cost to you, we would like to demonstrate some simple changes in the home that will help you protect your family against fire. In addition, the Red Cross will install a FREE smoke alarm within your home.  Click HERE to fill out the RI form and schedule your appt.


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