Fire safety is a major concern in the home wood shop. By it's very nature of using volatile chemicals around flammable materials like sawdust, woodworking has an increased chance of leading to a fire. Fortunately, with three simple tips you can lower fire danger.
Tip #1: Invest in a metal cabinet
Lacquers, varnishes, and paint thinners are just a sample of the highly flammable chemicals that woodworkers use every day. Storing these on open shelves makes them more likely to be exposed to a spark and to ignite. Instead, invest in a proper metal storage cabinet. These cabinets are made completely of metal so there are no wood parts that can ignite. They also have built in ventilation screens that are designed to keep possible sparks out while also insuring that combustible fumes don't build up. Also, never store anything other than sealed containers in the cabinet. Rags and brushes should be cleaned and stored separately, or thrown away in a metal container filled with water so they cannot combust.
Tip #2: Ensure proper ventilation
The build up of combustible fumes when you are working isn't just bad for your respiratory system, it can also lead to a fire danger. For example, if you have been applying varnish and your shop is heavy with fumes, a spark from a saw could ignite those fumes. At the very least, you need to have the ability to open a window and position a fan to circulate fresh air in and fumes out. There are specific ventilation fans available that are designed to pull air out more efficiently than a household fan. If you spend a lot of time in your wood shop, having a professional ventilation system installed can be a good idea from both a health and safety standpoint.
Tip #3: Use a sanding table
Sanding tables are also sometimes called downdraft tables. Beyond the chemicals in the wood shop, saw dust is the greatest fire danger. This is because it is fine enough and dry enough to be highly combustible with just the smallest of sparks. A sanding table uses air to suck the sawdust away as soon as it falls away from the wood piece you are working on. This has the added benefit of reducing cleanup and making it easier to work. You still need to use a shop vac afterward to clean up any stray sawdust from your work space afterward, but it will be much less messy.
Using the above tips can help reduce fire danger. Also, make sure to have a fire alarm and an extinguisher installed in your workshop just in case.