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National Fire Safety Prevention Week (October 5-11) is upon us. Cut down deadly fire risks by exercising good safety habits and simple prevention measures.

To help, The Family Handyman has rounded up the “Big 7” most common causes of preventable home fires and steps you can take to keep them from starting.

Prevention costs little or nothing and will save you big in safety down the line:

•Cooking Fires: Never leave the kitchen while something is cooking on the stove — a fire could start in seconds. Post a note close to the stove until everyone in your house gets the message.

•Portable Heaters: Establish a designated space heater zone in rooms where space heaters are used. The zone should be clear of drapes, bedding and other combustibles.

•Electrical Equipment: Overloaded extension cords, bad connectors and other careless uses of electrical devices can cause a fire. Keep extension cords away from rugs and make sure to call an electrician if there is a problem — don’t try to fix it yourself!

•Appliances: Mark a “combustible-free” zone a few feet away from your water heater with masking tape. This will allow everyone to know that nothing should be stored close to the water heater.

•Smoking: Smoking in bed causes more fires than any other single source. If someone in your house is a smoker, tell him to take it outside or invest in a “No Smoking” sign to make your point clear.

•Candles: Candles may make your house smell lovely, but the damage they can do is far from pretty. If you want to burn a candle, make sure to use tip-proof containers, burn candles only when you are awake and keep candles away from combustibles.

•Children playing with fire: Matches and igniters stored within reach of children are the greatest hazards. Make sure to store lighters and matches up high, well out of the reach of children.

For more information, visit www.familyhandyman.com.