MONROE, La. (KTVE/KARD) — According to the Ouachita Parish Fire Department, Winter months tend to be dangerous when it comes to heating equipment being the leading cause of fire. So, testing your smoke alarm at least once a month is essential.

“We encourage everybody to test their smoke detectors once a month.” Says Ouachita Parish Fire Investigator, Dusty Harris. 

“You can do that by pushing the button. A lot of times, the smoke alarms don’t have batteries or haven’t been tested in a while, and they simply don’t work because they are not functioning properly.” Says the fire investigator. 

Harris says in addition to having smoke detectors, Ouachita Parish residents should have their furnaces surveyed every year, especially space heaters. 

“Anything that is combustible. Anything that can catch fire if it comes in contact with the space heater, then there is a possibility of a fire starting.” Says Harris. 

He says by remembering to keep your space heater away from nearby objects is critical.

“Always keep it at 3-foot circumference and as we said before, do not use an extension cord to operate these space heaters.” Added Harris. 

Harris says all local fire department agencies will be working together to keep residents safe. 

“If you need a smoke detector, please call us at the Ouachita Fire Department. We would love to get one for you for free.” Says the fire investigator. 

And one more thing to keep in mind before you go to bed? Harris suggests, “If you leave the room or go to sleep, you should unplug your space heater and cut off and unplug all space heaters.”