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SFMO Offers Fire Safety Tips for Manufactured Homebuyers

Division Offers Information, Tips on Staying Fire-Safe in a Manufactured Home
Monday, April 08, 2019 | 08:19am

NASHVILLE – Tennessee’s reputation as a destination for families is driving the demand for new homes across the Volunteer State and manufactured homes are an affordable option for many. As part of ensuring fire safety in new and used manufactured homes, the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) works with manufacturers, retailers, installers, and consumers to ensure manufactured homes in the Volunteer State are a fire-safe housing option.

Just as site-built homes are constructed according to a specific building code, manufactured homes are constructed to HUD standards. The SFMO’s Manufactured Housing and Modular Building section licenses manufacturers, retailers, and installers to ensure homes manufactured, sold, or installed in Tennessee meet these standards. This ensures consistent and safe manufactured home design and construction, strength and durability, transportability, fire resistance, energy efficiency, and quality.

To help assist Tennessee consumers who might be shopping for a manufactured home, the SFMO created this behind-the-scenes video showing the construction of manufactured homes as well as easy-to-remember fire safety information.

While proper construction and installation of manufactured homes helps ensure the safety of these homes, fires in manufactured homes do still occur. Data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) indicates there were an average of 11,400 manufactured housing structure fires reported each year in the United States from 2007 – 2011. During this same time, manufactured homes built post-HUD-standard (after 1976) had a 57% lower rate of civilian fire deaths than pre-standard homes.

“The State Fire Marshal’s Office is committed to ensuring the safety of Tennesseans in all types of buildings,” said Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Julie Mix McPeak. “Regardless of their choice of living space, Tennesseans should remember that basic fire safety preparations, such as working smoke alarms, can save your life in a fire.”

To help keep consumers fire safe, the SFMO offers the following tips:

  • If you’re in the market for a manufactured home, choose one built after 1976 if possible. Homes built after 1976 must meet HUD safety standards. If you are considering a home manufactured before 1976, consider having a licensed electrician inspect the electrical system to ensure it meets at least minimum safety standards.
  • Ensure your home has working smoke alarms. Working alarms should be installed inside each sleeping area, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home. Remember that smoke alarms 10 years old and older no longer offer reliable fire protection and should be replaced.
  • Close your bedroom door before going to sleep at night. In the event of a fire, a closed door can hinder the slow the spread of deadly smoke and flames, giving you more time to escape.
  • Ensure your family has a home fire escape plan that details two ways out of each room and designates an outdoor meeting space. Check that doors and windows are free from clutter and open easily. Conduct home fire escape drills to ensure every member of the household knows how to get out in the event of an emergency.
  • Never store combustibles, like gasoline, charcoal lighter, or other flammable liquids under your home. Always place these in a shed away from your structure.
  • Install skirting to keep leaves, debris, and combustible items from blowing under your manufactured home where it could easily catch fire and spread into the home.
  • Plug only one heat-producing appliance (like a coffee maker, toaster, or space heater) into a receptacle at a time.
  • Keep drapes, blankets, towels, and other flammable household items at least three feet away from heating equipment.
  • Extinguish all candles when you leave a room or go to bed. Avoid using candles in the bedroom or other areas where people sleep.
  • Never leave the kitchen when frying, boiling, or grilling food. Use a kitchen timer when baking or simmering.
  • If you smoke, do so outside. Ensure that ashes and butts are fully cooled before disposing of them in a combustible container, like a trash can.

For more about the Manufactured Housing and Modular Building section and to learn life-saving fire safety tips, visit tn.gov/fire.

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