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Roanoke Fire-EMS provides tips to safely warm your home

Winter weather is headed our way. Do you know how to safely warm your home?

ROANOKE, Va. - Several inches of snow are projected to fall this weekend in Southwest Virginia, and Roanoke Fire-EMS wants to make sure you're safely heating your home. 

According to the National Fire Protection Association, half of all home heating fires occur from December to February, and electrical home fires are the leading cause of fires in the United States.

One of the first tips is for those who use a chimney to keep warm.

"Creosote build-up is what builds up inside your chimney, and that actually can become flammable," said Tiffany Bradbury, community risk reduction specialist for Roanoke Fire-EMS.

"It's just over the years of burning things, and it gets very, very dirty. That's a lot of times where we see a fire start in the flue of your chimney, and then they spread out to your wall."

If you're using heated blankets or heating pads to stay warm, don't plug them into an extension cord.

Make sure your fire alarms are up to check. 

Bradbury suggests you have one on every level of your home. 

"It's a good idea if you're going to sleep with your doors closed - go ahead and put a smoke alarm inside your room," said Bradbury.

"Bare minimum, one on every level of the home. Best practice is one in every room or at least every bedroom. Even up into your attic and into your basement like going down the stairs to your basement."

If you use candles or incense to keep warm, make sure to babysit the flame and never walk away from it. 

Kerosene heaters aren't as common anymore, but Bradbury says if you do use them, use caution.

"If you're using kerosene - I don't think those are used quite as much, but still people use those," said Bradbury.

"Make sure you never put gasoline in a kerosene heater."

Bradbury also suggests to get your furnace and carbon monoxide detectors serviced by professionals every year.

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