IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - October marks the end of fire season, but this doesn't mean we're in the clear.
As we stay cozy and warm indoors this winter season, the Idaho Falls Fire Department reminds us to be safe when operating home heating equipment.
According to the IFFD, home fires occur more in winter than in any other season.
They say fall is the time to prepare our home from winter fires.
Public Information Officer for the Idaho Falls Fire Department, Kerry Hammon suggests cleaning and inspecting your home's heating sources is a good place to start.
"Recently Idaho Falls we have seen an influx of people moving into our community who may not be as familiar with the operation and maintenance accommodating equipment. So we recommend have your chimney inspected and cleaned prior to using those heat sources," Hammon said.
A lot of us have experienced many Idaho winters and know how to prep for the cold.
However, the IFFD has noticed a surge of newcomers to the area with little to none experience dealing with the cold.
The department is spreading the message that now is the time for inspecting fireplaces-chimneys and other home heating sources.
If you rarely use the fireplace and plan on skipping out on chimney cleaning this year, you may want to think again.
"If you’ve had a chimney fire in the past, the extreme heat may have caused damage that you may not be able to see," IFFD Battalion Chief Rob Hall said. "An inspection of both the interior and exterior of the chimney is the best way to ensure that it is safe to use."
According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than half of home heating fire deaths resulted from something that could burn, like upholstered furniture, clothing, curtains and bedding too close to heating equipment.
Recommended that you keep anything that can burn at least three feet from heat sources and have a sturdy screen on a fireplace.
Responding to winter house fires by the chimney is a tale as old as time for fire crew members.
"It is common, for the Idaho Falls Fire Departments to Respond to home fires caused by chimneys not being properly inspected or cleaned," Hammon said.
When we change our clocks for Daylight Saving Time this weekend, IFFD reminds us this is a good time to check home smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
As winter keeps us indoors we increase the use of heating systems powered by fuel that could invite the silent killer into your home. Also known as carbon monoxide.
Acording to the CDC more than 400 people die each year in the United States from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
Hammon says for IF firefighters, it's more common for them to be dispatched to smoke alarm calls rather than (CO) calls during the winter.
It is strongly suggested that you don't start the upcoming season without confirming both detectors are fully operational.
IFFD will continue spreading awareness on how to keep your home safe during winter. For more safety tips visit here.