Fire prevention tips that can save your life this winter

Across the country, an estimated 945 people will lose their lives in fires this winter and more than 3,800 will be injured according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

Harrison County Fire Marshal Pat Sullivan said the cold months are always busier at the fire station.

"It's one of those situations where people are firing up their heaters and trying to stay warm, and sometimes they don't take the precautions that we suggest," Sullivan said.

First and most importantly, before turning on any heating device, make sure the fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your home are working.

If your heater is older and has not been serviced in a while, Sullivan recommends an expert look at it before you turn it on. For newer heaters, you can do a quick check yourself.

"Make sure it is clean and in working order," Sullivan said. "A lot of times, we get calls when they turn on their heater for the first time and they have that smell. That doesn't mean the house is on fire, but they just need to check."

If you plan to cozy up next to the fireplace, make sure to have a professional chimney sweep check it out every year.

"We have a lot of fires that they build up to much soot in the chimney, and it causes a fire or that they have a breakdown in the fire place and it allows the heat to get outside the fireplace itself and start fires," Sullivan said.

If you use a space heater, make sure it is one with an automatic shut off. If it falls over, this will turn off the heater before it sparks a fire. Also, remember to keep paper and fabric away from a space heater.

"When someone's life is lost or property is lost, it's a tragedy and we think that some common sense things and some basic fire protection precautions and early warning systems will keep that from happening," Sullivan said.

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