House still smoldering from fire.

15 Surefire Ways to Help Your Tenants Avoid a Fire

By BreAnn Stephenson

If your investment property is damaged in a fire, it is likely that your tenant may be involved. Unattended food cooking on the stove top, improper use of ovens as a heating source in winter and carelessly discarded cigarettes start many fires each year. A single fire can destroy your entire investment and may severely or fatally injure the occupants in the process. The good news is that these types of fires are easy to prevent. The 15 “fixes” below can help your tenants avoid a fire, keeping them, their families and your property safe.

What is the impact of structure fires? Check out these 2016 figures from the National Fire Protection Association:

  • Number of structure fires: 475,500
  • Number of civilian fire deaths: 2,950
  • Number of civilian fire injuries: 12,775
  • Property loss: $7.9 billion
  • One structure fire was reported every 66 seconds

What were the leading causes of these fires?

  • Leading cause: Cooking
  • Second leading cause: Heating
  • Leading cause of home fire deaths overall: Smoking


Just the Facts, Ma’am: Approximately 75 percent of range fires are started by food ignitions, and 43 percent are started by fish or meat. (U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission)


  • Never leave anything you are cooking unattended on the stove.
  • Be prepared to smother small grease fires by keeping a lid close by. Never try to put out a grease fire with water!  Slide the lid over the pan, and turn off the heat immediately.
  • If food catches fire in the oven, turn off the oven, and keep the door closed. Wait for the charred items to cool before opening the door to dispose of them.
  • Keep anything flammable (paper towels, oven mitts, recipe cards) away from the stovetop, and keep an ABC fire extinguisher in the kitchen in case of fire.


Just the Facts, Ma’am: About 87 percent of residential building heating fires from 2008 to 2010 were caused by confined fires – those fires confined to chimneys, flues, or fuel burners. (U.S. Fire Administration)

Of unconfined residential building fires, 30 percent started as a result of a heat source that was too close to a flammable object. (U.S. Fire Administration)


  • Remember your HEAT SAFE ZONE – a space of at least 3 feet between any space heater, grill, candles, incense or other heat sources and your possessions or anything flammable.
  • Have the chimney cleaned at least once a year by a professional to remove soot and other fire hazards.
  • Clean the ashes out of the fireplace only after there hasn’t been a fire in the fireplace for a few days, and always dispose of embers in a metal can that is stored at least 10 feet from the exterior of the property.
  • ALWAYS use a screen, spark guard or doors to prevent cinders from flying out. A fireproof rug is a good fail-safe in case any embers escape.
  • Be sure your space heater is in good condition, with no damage to the plug or frayed wires, and TURNS OFF automatically if it gets knocked over.
  • Keep all open flames out of the reach of children, and extinguish all flames when you leave a room.


Just the Facts, Ma’am: “One out of four fatal victims of smoking-material fires is not the smoker whose cigarette started the fire.” (National Fire Protection Association)


  • Completely extinguish cigarettes by dousing them in water or sand.
  • Dispose of cigarettes properly – NEVER discard cigarettes in vegetation. Mulch, potted plants, landscaping, peat moss and dried grasses ignite VERY quickly!
  • Use a sturdy ashtray with a good depth, and place it away from anything that can burn.
  • Medical oxygen is VERY dangerous when combined with any ignition source. Refrain from smoking where medical oxygen is in use or present.
  • If you are going to smoke, do it outside. According to the NFPA, most deaths resulting from property fires start in the living room, family rooms, dens or bedrooms.

Tenants should contact you immediately under these circumstances:

  • Wires protrude from the walls or ceiling.
  • Circuit breakers trip or fuses blow frequently.
  • Electrical appliances produce a tingling feeling to the touch.
  • Wall outlets are warm or discolored.
  • Lights flicker or dim frequently.
  • An outlet is sparking.


Your Safe Home brochure

Get a pamphlet from ALPS to keep your tenants’ families and your property safe from winter fires and other common hazards.

Order multiple print copies or customized copies HERE.

The bright yellow helps it stand out among other items posted on the fridge in an emergency.

We’re not kidding about that.




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