WEST MONROE, La (KTVE/KARD)– With the temperature slowly starting to dip, more people are going to start trying to stay warm. Many ways people do this are by using space heaters, electric blankets, or a fireplace. It’s important to follow safety tips and precautions when using these items.

Dusty Harris, chief of fire prevention for Ouachita Parish Fire Department, gives tips on staying safe when using a space heater. “Anytime you have cold weather, people want to want to try to keep warm. One of the things that we can do when using space heaters is to make sure that we always plug them directly into the wall and never ever use extension cords A lot of fires start that way. It’s also to keep them at least three feet away from any combustibles, and this means, you know, furniture, clothing, papers, anything like that that can burn. Whenever you leave the room, always turn the space heater off and do not sleep with it on. Do not leave a space heater running while you leave the room. “

Harris also said to keep chimneys clean if you plan on using your fireplace. “Fireplaces traditionally have been in houses for a long time, and one thing that we have learned throughout the years is that you have got to clean your chimneys. Call a reputable chimney sweep and have them come inspect your chimney to make sure that it’s in proper working order . Last year we saw a substantial number of chimney fires. “

Harris also said to make sure your fire detectors are up to date. “When we have cold weather coming, it is a good time to, you know, try to remind everybody to check their smoke detectors or smoke alarms. If you just test the button, make sure that you hear the beep where you sleep, and if you do experience a fire, then get out and stay out. “