According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), house fires caused $6.8 billion in damages, 12,200 injuries and 2,755 deaths in 2013. Here are some prevention tips from the NFPA to keep you, your family and property safe from fire.

Have an Escape Plan

Sit down with your family and put together an escape plan. NFPA has an escape planning grid to get you started.

Have Appropriate Safety Equipment

  • Properly install and maintain smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the house. It can be used to put out a small fire or contain a fire until the fire department arrives. But, fire can spread quickly – getting out of the house is most important.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Consider installing an automatic fire sprinkler system.

Be Careful

House fires are caused by many different factors, but cooking fires accounted for almost half of house fires in 2012. Here are some tips to keep in mind when cooking:

  • Be alert! If you’re sleepy or have consumed alcohol do not use your stove.
  • Stay in the kitchen if you are frying, grilling, boiling or broiling.
  • Check food regularly if you are simmering, baking or roasting. Stay in the kitchen and use a timer.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire away from the stovetop.

Use caution when cooking or using other items that could cause a house fire (candles, smoking, fireplaces, etc.).

Be Prepared

A fire can be devastating. There’s the potential to lose everything. While insurance can’t replace your mementos or family heirlooms, being prepared can make the process much easier.

  • Conduct an annual review of your homeowners insurance. Make sure to communicate any changes to your insurance agent.
  • Inventory items in your house. The Insurance Information Institute offers a free online home inventory software, Know Your Stuff.
  • Put important documents in a safe deposit box or fireproof safe and keep an electronic copy in case the originals are destroyed.