State Fire Marshal: As Summer Temps Rise, Chances for Fire Increase

With summer in full swing, the State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) offers important fire safety tips to help Tennesseans protect themselves, their loved ones, and their property during the hottest months of the year.

“While the summertime ushers in lots of opportunities for fun, the season also brings increased safety risks due to the elevated temperatures,” said State Fire Marshal and Commerce & Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak. “We urge Tennesseans to follow recommended fire safety measures, stay hydrated, and check on elderly neighbors during the hot summer days ahead.”


Around the House

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to regularly clean or replace the filter in your air conditioner. If you have a window air conditioning unit, check the electrical cords for cracks or damage.
  • Remove leaves and trash from carports and garages as combustible materials are dangerous if exposed to heated automobile or lawn care equipment components, especially those on the underside of the vehicle or lawn mower.
  • Never refuel a lawn mower while it’s still hot.
  • Always let lawn mowers and other gas-powered equipment cool down before storing them inside.
  • Check gasoline containers for leaks. Never bring gasoline indoors, even in small amounts. Store gas containers in an outbuilding, detached garage, or a shed outdoors.
  • Use gasoline only as motor fuel, never as a cleaner.
  • Rags that have been used to clean up spills of combustible or flammable liquids such as gasoline, paint thinner, oil-based paints, stains, and varnishes can start a fire if not handled with care. Never leave these cleaning rags in a pile. Take them outside to dry, then place the dried rags in a tightly-covered metal container filled with water and detergent solution to break down the oils.
  • Lit citronella candles and torches should be placed outside out the reach of children and well away from flammable materials such as overhangs or branches. Ensure flames are completely extinguished before leaving the area or going to bed.
  • When grilling, place your grill well away from siding, deck railings, eaves and overhanging branches. Never leave a grill unattended.
  • Always observe burn bans and check with your local and state authorities on outdoor burning regulations.
  • Ensure your home is equipped with working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in sleeping areas and on every level of the house.
  • Practice a home fire escape plan with all occupants that includes two ways out of every room and a designated outside meeting place.

Out and About

  • Choose a hotel or vacation rental that is equipped with both smoke alarms and fire sprinklers.
  • If you are going on a trip, turn off or unplug unnecessary appliances and electronics before you leave the house.
  • Never throw lit cigarettes out of a car as they have potential to ignite dry vegetation and other combustible materials.
  • Build campfires at least 15 feet away from tent walls, shrubs or other materials that burn. Never leave the camping area without putting out the campfire.
  • Ensure working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are installed inside vacation rental homes, campers, and RVs.
  • To prevent injury, consider attending a public fireworks display instead of setting off your own. Children should not handle or ignite fireworks, including sparklers.
  • To avoid the dangers of electric shock drowning, make sure children and loved ones understand the importance of not swimming anywhere there could be electricity, such as marinas and boatyards.

For more fire safety information, download and print the State Fire Marshal’s home fire safety checklist. Tennessee residents can request a free smoke alarm by visiting

Source: Nashville