Each year, the second week in October is recognized as Fire Prevention Week.

“It Is absolutely imperative that everyone have a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm,” says Idaho State Fire Marshal Knute Sandahl.

Studies have shown that after a certain time period smoke detectors lose their sensitivity and become unreliable.

“If you see the date that will tell you when it was born at the manufacturer and if its greater than 10 years, it is time to replace it,” Sandahl says. “If you have one of the older smoke alarms and you don’t see a date on it, its definitely time to get a new one.”

The importance of a working fire alarm is just as significant as a functioning carbon monoxide filter, as the colorless and odorless gas is poisonous and dangerous if undetected.

“The first indication is a headache and its downhill from there,” says Sandahl.

If your lighting a fireplace to stay warm, make sure to clean your chimney out at the beginning of the season and consider burning older seasoned wood rather than freshly chopped.

“We advocate at least a year after it has been cut down let it sit and season and dry out. If they burn it right away, then you get a large amount of creosote that builds up and that doubles the work as far as making sure its cleaned out,” says Sandahl.

Using a furnace to stay warm comes along with its own precautions as well, including having the equipment inspected twice a year in order to avoid a fire or costly maintenance in the future.

“The main thing you want to do is keep that filter clean. Secondly, you want to make sure that around the machine around that area, whether it be in the garage, or whether that is a closet in the house, that you keep everything away from that,” recommends President of Access Heating and Air Keith Lithander.

Fire officials recommend that Idahoans take these safety precautions sooner rather than later, before the cold weather sets in.