In October, Think Fire Prevention

October is upon us and Fire Prevention Week is October 7 to 13.

Why is a financial planner writing about Fire Prevention Week? Consistent with our theme of "let's manage what we can control, not what we can't control," there are basic preventative steps to take for fire prevention and safety.

"Have Two Ways Out" is the Fire Prevention Week theme for 2012, which should be easy for Cincinnatians to remember with our three-way, four-way and five-way chili! If you accomplish only one thing this year, have two ways out of every room in your house. This may include having a foldable escape ladder for the second floor of your house.

Here are a few other basic fire safety tips:

  • Change your smoke detector batteries when you change your clock for the end of daylight savings time.
  • Replace your smoke detectors when they are 10 years old. The detection sensitivity drops with age, even if they still function.
  • Kitchen fires are a high-risk source in your home. Have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen and know how to use it.
  • Clean your dryer vent at least once a year, all the way from the dryer to the exit source.
  • Have an outside meeting spot for your family, such as the mailbox if it is by the street or a neighbor's tree.
  • If you do only one thing to improve fire safety this year, it will be a step in the right direction. Don't let a fire be an opportunity to test your healthcare power of attorney form or last will and testament. See, there is always a financial planning connection!

About Bruce J. Berno, CFP®
Bruce J. Berno, CFP® is the founder of Berno Financial Management, Inc. a fee-only comprehensive personal financial planning and investment advisory firm headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since 1993, Berno Financial Management has been helping individuals and families achieve financial peace of mind. For more information about Berno Financial Management, visit