It’s that time of year again where cold temperatures (well, except the bout of warm weather we had this past week) prompt many to turn up the heat in their homes or burn some logs in the fireplace.

Unfortunately these ways to combat the cold make residences more vulnerable to the risk of catching fire. The Examiner spoke with Central Jackson County Fire Protection District Assistant Chief Eddie Saffell about preventive measures homeowners or tenants can do to avoid fires.

“If you are going to start a fire in the fireplace,” Saffell said, “always get it cleaned by a professional chimney cleaner beforehand.”

He continues that soot and debris from previous fires in the fireplace are possibly lodged up in the chimney, resulting in a fire hazard. “And if its a gas fireplace, be sure to have it serviced as well.”

“As for applicances or heaters, always use it as indicated by the manufacturer,” suggested Saffell.

He goes on to say it is very important to read over the owner’s manual of your appliances such as space heaters or heating lamps.

“Be real careful with placing these kind of heaters,” he adds. “You never want it to get too close to curtains or furniture.”

And as always, Saffell reminds everyone to check both their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are functioning properly and have new batteries. He also mentioned that people also like to burn candles this time of year and to be sure to blow them out before you leave or go to bed. Plus, always keep them away from combustibles.

“After some past ice storms, people are known to have used power generators, too. Check to ensure these generators are properly fueled and placed where they can be ventilated.”