Too often people use space heaters to warm their homes and they put them too close to curtains and other flammable materials. A lot of times they're left on overnight, and that can be hazardous.
Fire prevention officer Joe Manuse with the Gates Fire District says it's important to have working smoke detectors on every level of your home during the dangerous winter fire season, "remember to actually test the smoke detector every month, make sure that you change the batteries twice a year," explained Manuse, "the United States Fire Administration recommends changing the batteries every time you change the clocks, those are the first line of defense in the event of a house fire, those are what are going to awaken your family in the middle of the night."
Having carbon monoxide detectors in your home is also important. Manuse says some people turn on their stoves as alternate forms of heat, when the weather gets frigid. Gas stoves can give off carbon monoxide gas, "they call it the silent killer, about 400 people die each year and about 15 to 20 thousand people are hospitalized because of carbon monoxide injuries," explained Manuse, "so it's very important to have a carbon monoxide alarm in your home because you can't tell that it's there without that alarm going off in your home."
Fire prevention specialists recommend getting a carbon monoxide detector even if you don't have a gas stove because the gas is so dangerous.