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Fire fighters on the scene at a building explosion in Borough Park, Brooklyn on October 3rd, 2015

Source: Pacific Press / Contributor / Getty

Baby, I know its cold outside. But, here is a reminder from my Radio One family to yours, please don’t leave space heaters and candles unattended. According to the Richmond Fire Department fires are on the rise during the months of December, January and February due to heating equipment.

From the desk of the Richmond Fire Department:

Richmond, VA— As temperatures drop during the winter months, home heating systems kick into high gear. Did you know that heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fire deaths? Over half of home heating fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February. With a few simple safety tips and precautions you can prevent most heating fires from happening.

-Keep anything that can burn at least three-feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heaters.

-Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.

-Never use your oven to heat your home.

-Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.

-Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.

-Remember to turn off or unplug portable heaters whenever leaving the room or going to bed.

-Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters and never refuel it when in operation or it’s hot.

-Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.

-When installing wood burning stoves carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions or have a professional do the installation. All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

-CO alarms should be installed in any structure whenever a flame is produced by any equipment to avoid the risk of CO poisoning. If you smell gas, do not light the appliance. Leave the home immediately and call your local fire department or Gas Company.

-Test smoke alarms monthly.

Let’s work together to put a Freeze on Winter Fires.