With the sudden blast of cold air that swept through last week, lots of people went for the heater to take off the morning chill after getting out of bed. They may have discovered the heater gives them concern looking ahead to winter.

“As the temperatures start to cool down, the Fountain Hills Rural Metro Fire Department asks you to follow a few safety tips to help maintain a fire-safe home this winter,” said Fire Department Battalion Chief/Fire Marshal, Mike Winters.

Space heaters can be a major concern for fire safety.

*Keep anything that can burn, such as bedding, clothing and curtains, at least three feet away from the heater.

*Make sure the heater has an automatic shut-off so, if it tips over, it shuts off.

*Turn heaters off when going to bed or leaving the room.

*Plug portable heaters directly into outlets and never into an extension cord or power strip.

*Only use portable heaters from a recognized testing laboratory (UL listed or FM approved).

Fireplaces make for a cozy environment on a cold evening, but there are several safety concerns.

*Make sure to open the chimney flue the first time using the fireplace for the season.

*Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out.

*Do not burn paper in the fireplace.

*Put the fire out before going to sleep or leaving the home.

*Put ashes in a metal container with a lid, outside and at least three feet from the home, and never in the garage.

Furnaces and heat pumps should be subject to regular maintenance for safety.

*Have the furnace inspected each year.

*Keep anything that can burn away from the furnace.

*When turning on the heater for the first time, dust that has accumulated on the coils may burn off, giving off a burning smell. This is normal, but if the smell lingers for an extended time, don’t hesitate to call the fire department.