Every house and condo needs diligent safety measures to help ensure that everyone living in the home (and all of their belongings) are adequately protected from accidental fire. This means taking precautions beyond having standard battery-powered and hard-wired smoke detectors. For example, every home should have a serviceable fire extinguisher on every floor, including one in or near the kitchen, but not too close to a potential fire location such as a stovetop or fuel tank. The same advice applies to a natural fireplace area, and a garage where combustibles are common.

Ideally, residences should have a multipurpose “ABC” extinguisher in all such areas, as it’s very important to have the right kind of extinguisher for each potential class of fire. Class A is for paper and wood fires, while B is for petroleum-fueled fires, including some greases, paints and chemicals, and C is for electrical fires. Note that every fire extinguisher needs to be in working order, which often means it must be tested annually or replaced on occasion, according to the manufacturer’s warranty or your local fire department’s recommendations. Another key fire safety measure, often overlooked in many residences, is to ensure that everyone knows a proper evacuation plan, including a designated meeting place.