Mark Roemer image of a power strip on fire.

Fire Safety Tips for Tenants

The vast majority of all fires in the home are preventable. That means that in nearly every single case, there is something that could have been done to prevent the fire from happening. I, Mark Roemer, admit this topic is near and dear to my heart. I have several apartment complexes, and I am always worried that one of them might go up in flames. Sure, I have insurance, and I will be made whole again. However, my tenants have possessions that may not be able to be replaced. It is for this reason that I am going to write this blog to prevent a fire from happening in your apartment, hopefully.

Before I get started, you need to know that I, and landlords like me, are obligated to make sure that all of our dwellings conform to fire safety standards. That makes it the tenant’s responsibility to ensure that no fire hazards are introduced during the duration of their stay. Reading the following blog will assist in preventing fire and losing all of your possessions.

The List

Below you will find a list of safety measures that you can observe while you are living in a rental unit. Make sure that these rules are followed not only by yourself but by any roommates or guests.


There are several ways that we heat our apartments. Depending on where you live, it can range from baseboard heaters to wood-burning stoves. In either case, you need to make sure that any flammable objects do not come in direct contact with the heat source. I suggest that you keep anything that can catch on fire a minimum of three feet away from them. While this is not practical in most applications, it is the safest way to go. If you should have to put furniture against baseboard heaters, you need to check them periodically to make sure they are not getting too hot. While these heaters do have a safety switch that will shut them off, nothing lasts forever. So, while they are supposed to turn off if the heat rises too fast, they could not detect the rise in temperature soon enough. This can lead to your furniture catching fire and then setting the rest of the house on fire.

In some cases, people may need to buy portable heaters. Follow the same rules I outlined above. There is one extra thing you need to check on before you buy a portable heater. Make sure that it has an automatic shutoff switch if it gets knocked over. This will keep you, your family members, and even pets from inadvertently setting the house on fire.


The further along in technology that we get, the more we need our items to be plugged in. The problem is, many houses are quickly becoming increasingly difficult to accommodate such power consumption. Should you find yourself needing to buy an extension cord or plug adapters, you need to limit them as much as possible. While the wall plugs will likely be safe, taking power to levels it was never intended to be can cause a fire. This usually happens as a result of electrical shorts. Sometimes one spark is all that is needed to set your things on fire.

In addition to limiting your electrical modifications, you can make some adjustments on a daily basis. If you have anything in your house that does not need to be plugged in 24 hours a day 7 days a week, you should unplug it. After all, if the appliance is not plugged in, it cannot have a short. I suggest unplugging things such as toasters and any other small appliances.

General Housekeeping

In addition to making sure your floors are free from dust and hair, you need to make sure you follow these safety tips.

Make sure that all flammable products are kept out of reach of children and others that should not have access to them. That means you will need to store paint, varnish, and any other flammable liquids. Likewise, you will want to make sure you dispose of any ashes from your fireplace or your barbecue. All ashes should be stored in metal, not plastic, trashcans. Finally, you need to only light candles when someone is actively around to keep an eye on them. Obviously, if you are leaving the room for just a minute, you should be fine. Any vacancy longer than a couple of minutes should warrant you blowing the candle out. Candles have been known to break, and then the flame will follow the wax. It is not worth having your house smell good if you are risking damaging your property.


To go along with my previous statement about appliances, I am going to address the kitchen specifically here. Make sure that whenever you have something on the stove, someone is around. Unlike the candle, it is not acceptable to walk away from it for even a second. A grease fire can start without notice. You need to be there to extinguish the flame as fast as possible. Should you have a grease fire, the best way to deal with it is by smothering it. This can be achieved by covering it with the lid. Do not under any circumstances put flour or water on a grease fire. If you have to use something other than the lid, I suggest a fire extinguisher rated for grease fires. If you are unable to control the fire, call the fire department and get everyone out of the building, not just your unit.


I, Mark Roemer, hope that you find these tips helpful and that you will make sure to follow them. Home fires are nothing to be afraid of if you follow safety precautions. One final thing that I failed to mention above if you have to smoke, make sure you do it outside. The majority of cigarette fires happen from people that fall asleep. This doesn’t just happen in the bedroom.