Albuquerque Fire Department Urges Residents To Be Fire Safe

If you woke up to a fire in your home, how much time do you think you would have to get to safety? According to the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), one-third of Americans thought they would have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life threatening. Unfortunately, the time available is often less. That’s why Albuquerque Fire Department is teaming up NFPA to urge residents to be fire smart and protect their homes from fire.

October 29, 2012

Over the weekend, the Albuquerque Fire Department responded to six fires in which half were caused by home heating appliances. An elderly woman had to be rescued by firefighters because she was trapped behind a double bolted door. It is that time of the year that people fire up their home appliances to keep warm but they must ensure safety measures have been implemented and they know important fire safety tips to prevent fires.

In 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to 369,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 13,350 civilian injuries, 2,640 civilian deaths, and $6.9 billion in direct damage. Most of the fire deaths occurred in homes without working smoke detectors. Having a properly installed operational smoke detector reduces your chance of dying in a fire by nearly half.

“One home structure was reported every 85 seconds in 2010,” says Albuquerque Fire Chief James Breen. “Fire growth is unpredictable and moves faster than most people realize.  Ensuring that heating appliances are serviced annually, having properly installed smoke detectors that work, and practicing a home evacuations are ways of ensuring your family’s safety should fire break out in your home.” 

AFD recommends the following tips for protecting your family and home from fire:

1. Install smoke alarms in every home, on every level, outside each sleeping area and 

   in each bedroom.

2. Know two ways out of every room and practice a home evacuation plan once a  


3. Heating:

         - Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every 

            year by a qualified technician.                     


        - Keep anything that can burn at least three-feet away from heating 

           source like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.


       - Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into        

          the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container

          outside away from anything that can burn.


       - Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going 

          to bed. 


4. Install battery-operated CO detector in your home and check or replace the 

    battery when you change the time on your clocks.


For additional safety tips, go to the City of Albuquerque’s website at or NFPA’s Web site at