It's National Fire Prevention Week, which is a perfect time to brush up on fire prevention tips.

National Fire Prevention Week, which became an annual event in 1925, is October 4 through October 10 this year and the Better Business Bureau offers the following tips to help keep your home safe:

  • Clean your chimney. Before the cold really hits, contact a chimney sweep or chimney service company for a professional cleaning.
  • Check those cords. Inspect all electrical cords not only in the living quarters, but those outside the house and in the attic, crawl space and basement. Get rid of any cords that are frayed, taped, or feel hot when in use. Do not run cords under rugs.
  • Inspect your smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Neither of these items last forever. Smoke detectors should be tested every month and replaced every 10 years. Fire extinguishers should be tested yearly and replaced or serviced based upon the date stamped on the extinguisher. Make sure all those in your household know how to use the fire extinguisher in your home.
  • Clean your dryer vent and ducts. It’s surprising how quickly lint can build up in the vents and ducts. Replace any plastic venting items with ones made of metal.
  • Take inventory of flammables. Know what flammable items and chemicals are in your garage and basement. Make sure they are sealed properly and stored away from things that could ignite them.
  • Visit your local fire station. Fire departments are a great community resource that can offer practical advise and statistics about fires in your community. Many offer free smoke detectors and targeted fire prevention education.
  • Plan your escape route. Even after making preventive safety measures, the unexpected can still occur. During a house fire, residents may only have one to two minutes to exit their home. Having a plan and practicing it can help eliminate panic should an emergency arise. Try to have two ways to exit out of each room.
  • Know when to ask for help. There are some types of repairs or maintenance that may require the help of a professional. To get a listing of trustworthy businesses or to check out a business you are considering hiring, visit BBB.org.
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My Grandpa was a firefighter so these things have been ingrained in me since I was a kid.  He taught me early in life about the dangers of overloading outlets with devices, not being careful with multiple outlet strips, and not to play with matches or lighters.

These are the kinds of tips that I now find myself repeating to my kids because it's amazing how fast an accidental fire can start and spread.  National Fire Prevention Week is the perfect time for all of us to go over everything once again.