Whether you’re cooking for your family or relaxing by the fireplace, consider these tips for preventing fires inside and outside your home:

1. Stay in the kitchen when you’re cooking on the stove. Whether you’re frying, boiling, grilling, broiling, or toasting, kitchen fires can start at a moment’s notice. You’ll want to be there to put it out before it becomes a problem. It is also smart to stay at home and check regularly on food that is roasting or baking inside the stove and use a timer to remind you when to take it out.

2. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms regularly. You should have a smoke alarm in every bedroom outside each additional sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement – preferably interconnected alarms that will all go off if one detects smoke. Test them at least once a month.

3. Properly dispose of fireplace ashes. Allow them to cool for 12 -24 hours, place them in a metal bucket, and then move the bucket outside until there are no more hot spots. Get your chimney inspected and cleaned before the holidays.

4. Keep burnable items three feet away from heating equipment. Items such as furniture, throw pillows, blankets, and rugs should be kept away from furnaces, fireplaces, wood stoves, and portable space heaters. Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room.

5. Install fire sprinklers inside and outside your home. If a home fire occurs, the risk of dying decreases by about 80 percent when a home is equipped with a fire sprinkler system. Installing a home sprinkler system may reduce your homeowner’s insurance premium as well. Consider purchasing a rooftop sprinkler system such as Embersguard ($275.00 – which is a highly effective tool to help your home survive a wildfire.

6. Burn candles in sturdy, fire-proof containers. Make sure they can’t tip over, and extinguish all candles before going to bed or leaving a room.

7. Check your electrical cords. Keep electric cords out from under rugs, and make sure they’re not frayed or damaged in any way. If they are, replace them immediately.

8. Clean up your yard. Wildfires can happen any time. Keep your yard free of dried debris, such as brush, weeds, vegetation, dead trees and shrubs, and anything else that might catch fire if a stray spark were to settle on them. Be sure to clear your property with appropriate power equipment and not during the heat of a dry day, as sparks from a lawn mower or weed wacker hitting a rock can start a fire.

Cooking and heating are the leading causes of home fires and fire injuries. Anticipate fire risks and take action. Now is the perfect time to review and practice fire safety