By Anessa Cohen



This past year we experienced a number of severe home fires and, unfortunately, casualties as well. Fire safety and survival begin with everyone in your household being prepared. I am reprinting a list of tips from the Woodmere Volunteer Fire Department. Please follow the safety advice to reduce the chance of fire in your home:

Prevent Fires Caused By Cooking

  • Always stay in the kitchen while cooking
  • Keep things that can burn, such as dishtowels, paper or plastic bags, and curtains at least three feet away from the range top.
  • Before cooking, roll up sleeves and use oven mitts. Loose-fitting clothes can touch a hot burner and catch on fire.
  • Always stay by the grill when cooking. Your grill may stay hot for a long time. Keep children and pets away.
  • Keep grills at least ten feet away from other objects, including the house and any shrubs or bushes.

Prevent Fires Caused By Matches And Lighters

  • Many young children are badly burned or die playing with matches and lighters.
  • Store matches and lighters in a locked cabinet.
  • If you must keep matches or lighters in your jacket or purse, put them where children cannot see or touch them.

Prevent Fires Caused By Smoking

  • Use “fire-safe” cigarettes and smoke outside.
  • Use large, deep ashtrays on sturdy surfaces like a table.
  • Douse cigarette and cigar butts with water before dumping them in the trash.

Prevent Fires Caused By Candles

  • Only light candles when an adult is in the room. Do not allow children to keep candles or incense in their rooms.
  • Always use stable candle-holders made of material that won’t catch fire, such as metal, glass, etc.
  • Blow out candles when adults leave the room.

Prevent Fires Caused By Heating

  1. Space Heaters
    Space heaters need space. Keep them at least three feet away from things that can burn, such as curtains or stacks of newspaper. Always turn off heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.
  2. Furnaces
    Have a service person inspect chimneys, fireplaces, wood and coal stoves, and central furnaces once a year. Have them cleaned when necessary.
  3. Fireplaces And Wood Stoves
    Keep things that can burn away from your fireplace and keep a glass or metal screen in front of your fireplace.

Prevent Fires Caused By Gasoline

  • Gasoline is very dangerous. Inside a garage or home, gasoline vapors can explode with just a tiny spark.
  • It is best not to keep any gasoline at home. If you must keep some, use a special safety container.
  • If you can, keep the container in an outdoor shed away from your home. Close all the openings.
  • Never bring or use gasoline indoors. Use it as a motor fuel only.

Prevent Fires Caused By Other Products

  • Read the label of everything you buy. If you see the words “Caution,” “Warning,” “Danger,” or “Flammable,” be very careful.
  • Close the lid on all dangerous products and put them away after using them.
  • Store them away in a safe place with a lock.

Keep Your Family Safe At Home

  • Make a fire escape plan for your family. Find two exits out of every room. Pick a meeting place outside. Practice makes perfect — hold a family fire drill at least twice each year.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home. There are two kinds of smoke alarms — photoelectric and ionization. If possible, get some of each kind or buy “combination” smoke alarms that have both types of sensors.
  • Put them inside or near every bedroom. Test them monthly to make sure they work. Put in new batteries once a year.
  • Know how to put out a small pan fire by sliding a lid over the flames.
  • Teach every family member to “Stop, Drop, Roll, and Cool” if clothes catch fire by dropping immediately to the ground, crossing hands over your chest, and rolling over and over or back and forth to put out the flames. Cool the burned area with cool water and seek medical attention for serious burns.
  • Consider having a fire sprinkler system installed in your new home, or when you remodel.
  • Learn how and when to use a fire extinguisher.

Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and a licensed N.Y.S. loan officer (FM Home Loans) with over 20 years of experience offering full-service residential, commercial, and management real-estate services as well as mortgage services. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here