GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.-
As the days get colder, people are turning to fireplaces, space heaters and other options to keep warm.
However, there is a risk when using these items. The Grand Junction Fire Department has already responded to several incidents.
Grand Junction firefighter Derek Trombetta said, "When you're starting to light fire for the first time, you want to make sure that your fireplace and chimney are both clear and clean. There's companies around town that do that; you can find several people that will come out and clean, check and maintain chimneys."
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more than one-third of Americans use fireplaces, wood stoves and other fuel-fired appliances as primary heat sources in their homes.
They say heating fires account for 36 percent of residential home fires in rural areas every year.
Other heating methods also pose some risk.
"Space heaters, heating pads, anything that's plugged in for an extended amount of time, really you don't ever want to have that plugged in permanently to a fixture. It's only to be used as necessary," Trombetta said.
Despite these hazards, you can take action to protect your home and family.
David King, operations manager at Home Depot, said, "Make sure they have smoke detectors and that the batteries have been changed a minimum of once a year. We do actually sell some that are good for up to 10 years. There's a test button on all of them that they can get up and push. They should test it once a month, also making sure they have ABC-rated fire extinguishers throughout the house especially around cooking areas and close to reach."
"You want to take it serious; it's your home, your possessions, your family," Trombetta said.
"A life is a hard thing to replace," said King.
Taking the time to attend to these small details can have a big impact in the long run.
For more home fire safety tips, click here