More than 24 million fires are reported annually, resulting in over $11 billion in property damage.

The United States has one of the highest fire death rates per capita in the world. At least 6,000 people die in fires each year, and an additional 100,000 are injured. Senior citizens and children under 5 are at highest risk. Fire is fast, dark and deadly, emitting smoke and gases that can render a person unconscious within minutes. It is the most likely disaster that families will experience.

Wild land fires in the state of Washington burn thousands of acres in an average year. Most of these fires are caused by man. If you live in a wild land area, where flammable vegetation is abundant, your house could be a target for wild land fire.

  • Install smoke detectors, according to the manufacturer's directions, on every level of your house: outside bedrooms on the ceiling or high on the wall, at the top of open stairways, or at the bottom of enclosed stairs and near (but not in) the kitchen.
  • Clean smoke detectors once a month and change batteries at 2 specified times each year.
  • Plan 2 escape routes out of each room. Contact your local fire authority for help in planning for the safe escape of those with disabilities.
  • Make sure windows are not nailed or painted shut and security grating on windows have a fire safety opening feature.
  • Teach everyone to stay low to the floor when escaping from a fire.
  • Pick a meeting place outside your home for the family to meet after escaping from a fire. Once out, stay out!
  • Practice your escape plans at least twice a year.
  • Clean out storage areas. Store flammable and combustible liquids in approved containers. Keep containers in the garage or an outside storage area.
  • Inspect primary and secondary heating equipment annually.
  • Learn how to turn off the gas and electricity in an emergency.
  • Install ABC type fire extinguishers and teach family members how to use them.
  • Inspect and service (if required) your fire extinguisher annually.
In Case of Fire
  • Do not attempt to extinguish a fire that is rapidly spreading.
  • Use water or a fire extinguisher to put out small fires.
  • Never use water on a electrical fire.
  • Smother oil and grease fires in the kitchen with baking soda or salt, or put a lid over the flame if it is burning in a pan.
  • If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop and roll until the fire is out.
  • Sleep with your door closed.
  • If the smoke alarm sounds, crouch down low, feel the bottom of the door with the palm of your hand before opening it. If the door is hot, escape through the window. If the door is not hot and this route is your only means of escape, crawl below the level of the smoke and use the first available exit door to escape. If you cannot escape, leave the door closed, stay where you are and hang a white or light-colored sheet outside the window.
After a Fire
  • Stay out of burned structures.
  • Ask the fire department for assistance in retrieving important documents.
  • Call your insurance agent.
  • Keep records of all clean-up and repair costs.
  • Don't throw away damaged goods until a complete inventory is made, and photos taken of your home and damaged goods.
  • Notify disaster relief services if you need housing, food, etc.
  • Secure personal belongings.
  • If you are a tenant, notify the landlord.