More people turn to space heaters and other electrical devices to keep warm this time of year.
Before you do, it's crucial you know that improper use of these heaters can spark a fire in an instant. Tri-Township Fire Protection District Lieutenant Richard Kestner explains heater do's and don'ts.
"With the space heaters, don't plug them into extension cords. Plug them directly into the wall," said Kestner. "And never into a surge protector. Don't put them next to your bed, because the bed could catch on fire. Make sure there's a clear area of at least 3 to 5 feet of anything that could catch fire."
Kestner says his department sees more house fires in the winter due to improper uses of space heaters. These incidents occur mostly because people don't know how harmful it can be if you're not careful.
"People use these little strips to plug in 5 or 6 different things, but they forget they're still plugging them in to one outlet. The space heaters use so many amps, and if you use a smaller wire, the wire gets hot and will short out and cause a fire," said Kestner.
If you don't use space heaters, the same caution should be used for wood stoves and fireplaces.
"You need to make sure you have somebody come and clean out your flu every year. If you burn dry wood, it doesn't leave much soot, but if you burn green wood, the soot would build up and cause chimney fires," said Kestner.
Regardless of how the fire starts, it's very important to have a plan to get out of the house, advice many people ignore until it's too late.
"Have a meeting place. That way when we show up, we know everybody is out of the house. Never run back in for your pets. Just get out, and call and let us do our job, and that way everybody stays safe," said Kestner.
As always, remember to check your smoke detectors and change their batteries at least twice a year. Make sure there's at least one located on each floor of your home.