SFMO Reminds Tennesseans to “Stay Safe At Home” During Pandemic

Remember Cooking Safety Tips and Working Smoke Alarms While At Home
Friday, April 03, 2020 | 07:20am

NASHVILLE – In order to stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Tennesseans are now required by Governor Bill Lee to stay home unless carrying out essential activities.

While Tennesseans are staying at home during this period, the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) is urging Volunteer State residents to renew their commitment to practicing good fire safety habits in order to reduce the risk of starting a home fire that could result in an injury or, worse, a fatality.

“As part of properly following Governor Bill Lee’s Executive Order No. 23, Tennesseans should remain at home unless they are carrying out essential activities,” said Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) Commissioner and Tennessee State Fire Marshal Hodgen Mainda. “During our time at home, I urge my fellow Tennesseans to remember good fire safety habits in order to prevent a fire which could further strain healthcare and emergency resources during this critical time. Additionally, I also remind everyone to practice good social distancing habits and good hygiene.”

The SFMO reminds Tennesseans to keep these fire safety habits in mind while complying with Executive Order No. 23 in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Remember:


  • Many Tennesseans will be cooking more while at home. Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling, broiling, or boiling food. If you must leave the room, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove. When you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, stay in the home, and use a timer to remind you.
  • To prevent cooking fires, you must be alert. You will not be alert if you are sleepy, have consumed alcohol, or have taken medicine or drugs that make you drowsy.
  • If you have young children, use the stove’s back burners whenever possible. Keep children and pets at least three away from the stove.
  • When you cook, wear clothing with tight-fitting sleeves or roll sleeves up.


  • Never smoke in a home where medical oxygen is present. The increased presence of oxygen in the air makes fire burn hotter and faster. A person utilizing medical oxygen should never smoke.
  • Keep oxygen cylinders at least five feet from heat sources, open flames, or electrical devices.
  • Items containing oil or grease, like hand lotion, can easily ignite. Keep oil and grease away from where medical oxygen is being used.
  • Never use aerosol sprays, especially those that indicate flammable contents, near the oxygen.
  • Post “No Smoking” and “No Open Flames” signs inside and outside the home to remind people that medical oxygen is present.


  • Ensure your home is equipped with working smoke alarms inside and outside every sleeping areas and on every level of the house.
  • Test your alarms monthly to ensure they are working. Replace the unit if it is more than 10 years old.
  • Check and install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. CO is an odorless, colorless gas created when natural fuels burn incompletely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel, like barbeques, fireplaces, and fuel-powered heaters, are potential sources of carbon monoxide.
  • Practice a home fire escape plan with all occupants that includes two ways out of every room and a designated outside meeting place.


  • Supervise children closely. Many fires happen when young children are left alone, even for a short period of time. Set clear rules and consequences about fire misuse. Keep matches and lighters in a locked drawer or cabinet, high out of the reach of children.