These tips are intended as a guide, and not a complete list of fire prevention strategies. For more information, contact the Tuscaloosa Fire Department at 205-349-0164 or the Northport Fire Department at 205-333-3020.

  • Call 911 for fire emergencies. Program emergency response numbers into your cell phone.
  • Make sure you have a fire escape plan and keep exit routes clear.
  • You should have two escape routes from each room, usually a window and a door.
  • Windows and doors should open easily. Ask the landlord to fix them if they don’t.
  • You should leave the building immediately if you suspect a fire.
  • If caught in a fire, stay low to the ground to avoid smoke inhalation.
  • Use a damp cloth to cover your nose and mouth.
  • Feel the door, if it is hot, do not open it. Look for another exit from the room. If the door is not hot, open it slowly.
  • Get yourself out first, then use a cell phone or neighbor’s phone to call for help.
  • Don’t try to put the fire out yourself. Call for help.
  • Remember – STOP, DROP and ROLL if you catch fire.
  • Never go back inside a burning building.

Smoke Detectors

  • Test smoke detectors once a month. Make sure they are clear of dust and debris; don’t just push the test button. Ask the landlord to install smoke detectors if there aren’t any or ask if you can install them yourself.
  • Change the batteries in your smoke detector twice a year. You can remember to do this by changing them when the time changes in the fall and spring.
  • Smoke detectors should be located in or near each bedroom and in the living area.


  • It is a good idea to never smoke inside and never smoke in bed.
  • Run cigarettes and cigar butts under water before putting in the trash.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.


  • Don’t leave the kitchen with food cooking in the oven or on the stove.
  • Make sure loose clothing that could touch a burner and catch fire is tucked away.
  • Keep things that could burn such as potholders, plastic containers, paper products and dish towels away from the cook top and heating elements.
  • Turn the oven and/or stove off when you finish cooking.
  • Turn off and unplug small appliances after using them (toasters, coffee makers).
  • Don’t leave a grill unattended while grilling and never use a grill in an unventilated area.
  • Make sure the grill is located at least 3′ away from anything combustible.
  • Only use lighter fluid designated for use with charcoal grills.
  • Make sure coals are completely out before discarding them.
  • If using a gas grill, make sure the lines are securely attached and turn off the gas when you finish grilling.


  • Never leave burning candles or incense unattended.
  • Use candle holders that are stable and made of glass or metal.
  • Make sure candles are out completely before you leave the room or fall asleep.
  • Place candles where they won’t be knocked over.


  • If you use space heaters, keep them at least 3′ from anything that could catch on fire.
  • Turn the space heater off when you leave the room, go to bed, leave the house, etc..
  • Have central heating systems inspected and cleaned annually before using.
  • Have chimneys inspected annually and cleaned if needed before using.
  • Keep things that could catch on fire away from the fireplace.
  • Use a metal or glass screen in front of the fireplace.


  • Make sure extension cords are in good condition.
  • Never run extension cords under rugs or over a doorway.
  • Never let furniture sit on top of an extension cord.
  • Never hook an extension cord to a nail or tie a knot in a cord.
  • Always use the proper size extension cord.
  • If a breaker is tripped, find out why and remove appliances that are causing the tripped breaker.
  • Make sure a correctly sized fuse is used in each socket in the fuse box.
  • Make sure the computer, TV, stereo, refrigerator, etc. are well ventilated and plugged into a surge protector.
  • Use the correct wattage light bulbs in lamps and light fixtures.
  • All outlets should be covered by face plates.


  • Store flammable materials in safety cans, outside, away from heat sources.
  • Never fill a hot lawn mower with gasoline. Allow the motor to cool first.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed near bedrooms.
  • Keep the garage, attic, closets and yard free of clutter (papers, empty boxes, etc.).