Fire Safety and Awareness Tips: Building Safety Month

May is Building Safety Month. The City of Cape Girardeau will be spotlighting specific areas of building safety each week during May. This week’s focus is Fire Safety and Awareness. Here are some tips for homes and businesses.

Tips for Homes

  1. Install smoke alarms in each bedroom, outside of sleeping areas and rooms, and on each level of your home.
  2. Replace all smoke detector batteries once yearly. Make sure to test your smoke detectors at least once per month.
  3. Do not paint over smoke detectors.
  4. If you have gas-fired appliances, like a gas stove, install a carbon monoxide detector and check its batteries frequently.
  5. Develop an evacuation plan for you and your family.
  6. Practice an escape plan from every room in the house. Caution everyone to stay low to the floor when escaping from fire and never to open doors that are hot. Select a location for everyone to meet after escaping the house. Get out, then call for help.
  7. Make sure you know how to open/operate all your home’s windows. Make sure windows aren’t nailed or painted shut.
  8. Portable heaters need their space. Keep anything combustible at least 3 feet away.
  9. Maintain a “defensible” space around your home by clearing all flammable vegetation a minimum of 30 feet around all structures. Clear dead leaves and branches to leave widely-spaced ornamental shrubbery and trees.
  10. Plant fire prone trees and shrubs away from your home and far enough apart so they won’t ignite each other.
  11. Install noncombustible 1/4 inch or smaller mesh screening on attic/soffit vents and around elevated wood decks to keep out embers. Install approved or listed spark arrestors on chimneys of solid fuel or liquid fuel burning appliances.
  12. Do not link together multiple surge protectors.
  13. Use an appropriately-sized extension cord for your needs.

Tips for Businesses

  1. Develop an evacuation plan for your business. Hang exit signs and place evacuation route maps where appropriate.
  2. Check all exit and egress lighting to make sure the battery back up system is operating.
  3. Make sure all exit doors are working and are not blocked.
  4. Have fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure the extinguisher’s gauge is “in the green.”

Download Building Safety Month Flier – Fire Safety Awareness

More information
Cape Girardeau Fire Department –
International Code Council –
U.S. Fire Administration –