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Fire and Carbon Monoxide Safety

Fire Safety

Fires can start and spread in a matter of seconds. The most common causes of fires include cooking, heating, candles and smoking. In Massachusetts, heating is the number one cause of home fires. Unfortunately, across the U.S., nearly 7 people die every day from home fires. Therefore, it's important to be aware and prepared to keep you and your family safe in case of a fire emergency. 

Smoke Alarms Save Lives

Fire Prevention

  • Never leave cooking unattended. Cooking is the #1 cause of fires in the U.S. 
  • Keep oven mitts, towels, and anything else that can catch on fire away from the stove.
  • Set a 3-foot safety zone away from the stove and oven for children. 
  • Store matches, candles, and lighters up and away from children. 
  • Remember to blow out candles when leaving the house or before going to bed. 
  • Use generators outdoors and away from windows and doors. 
  • Have your heating system and appliances inspected by a technician every year.

Fire Escape Plan 

  • Make and draw out a fire escape plan with your family. 
  • Make sure there are at least 2 ways out of every room. 
  • Have a safe outside meeting place for everyone to meet.
  • Practice the fire escape plan with everyone twice each year.


Carbon Monoxide 

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas. Carbon monoxide poisoning is caused when CO builds up in the bloodstream, preventing the body from using oxygen. This can cause damage to your severe organs, and possibly death. Because you cannot see, taste, or smell it, people often do not realize that they are breathing CO. The only way to know if CO is in your home is with a CO detector. Therefore, it's important for families to have CO detectors installed on every level of their home, and to know how to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Sources of CO

Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced when fuels such as gas, propane and oil are not burned completely. Common sources of CO include stoves, dryers, and space heaters. In addition, a car enclosed inside of a garage or with a blocked tailpipe can also be a dangerous source for CO.

Symptoms of CO Poisoning

Shortness of breath
Blurred Vision​
Loss of consciousness​

CO Poisoning Prevention

  • Install carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home near bedrooms. 
  • Never use a gas range or even to heat your home. 
  • Never use generators indoors, or near doors and windows. 
  • Never leave your car on inside of an enclosed garage. 
  • Clear out your tailpipe of debris and snow, especially during the winter. 
  • Have your heating system and appliances inspected by a technician every year.
  • Contact Boston Fire Department for Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector Inspections.


Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: