The Paulding County Fire Department is most worried about fireplaces and space heaters causing fire, said Deputy Fire Chief Joey Pelfrey.
He said the main cause for fires being started by fireplaces is when residents do not clean their chimneys.
“They need to get their fireplaces cleaned once a year,” Pelfrey said.
Residents should get a certified chimney sweep to do the cleaning to ensure it is done correctly, he said. In Paulding County there were 15 chimney fires in 2011 and 12 in 2012, Pelfrey said.
Also, when taking ashes out of the fireplace residents should put them in a metal container and place them at least 10 feet away from the home, Pelfrey said.
Depending on how long the ashes have been burning it could take hours for them to cool, he said.
All fireplaces should have a metal mesh screen in front of them, to keep embers or ashes from coming out of the fireplace into the home, Pelfrey said.
“We have already had fires from fireplaces [this winter season],” he said
Space heaters should be watched carefully as well. Heaters should be kept three to four feet away from any combustible item, he said.
“Do not use an extension cord with a space heater unless absolutely necessary,” Pelfrey said.
Heaters should not be left on while sleeping, he said. They are more dangerous than fireplaces, Pelfrey said.
When using propane heaters make sure they are intended for indoor use, he said.
Always check for an Underwriters Laboratories mark, which is denoted by the letters “UL” in a circle, to make sure the heater meets code requirements, Pelfrey said.
To help keep homes safe residents should have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
“Make sure you have smoke alarms on every floor,” Pelfrey said.
The best places to put them are in front of bedroom doors, in kitchens and in laundry rooms, he said. Also it is a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher in the home, Pelfrey said.
To keep children safe do not allow them to operate fireplaces or space heaters at any time, he said.