BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – Baton Rouge Fire Department prepares the community for winter by sharing heating tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

“Each winter, people die in fires that could have been prevented by taking a few simple precautions,” the department posted on Facebook.

NFPA says that in 2014 through 2018, 81% of home heating fire deaths involved stationary or portable space heaters. The lead contributor to home heating fires was not cleaning solid-fueled heating equipment such as chimneys properly. Fireplaces must be inspected for creosote build-up before use. Half of the home heating fire deaths were caused by having heating equipment too close to things that can burn such as bedding so keep combustible items at least three feet away from the space heaters. When using a space heater, make sure it has an automatic shut-off switch in case it gets knocked over and do not place it near items that can catch on fire, such as drapes.

Check smoke detectors frequently by paying special attention to the carbon monoxide detectors. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may be mistaken for the cold or flu and include fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea or vomiting. If someone in the household experiences any symptoms while using fuel-burning appliances, the fire department says to get fresh air immediately and call 911.

The fire department says that if families follow the heating safety tips, they can keep each other safe. Find more information on NFPA heating safety tips on chimneys, generators and candles.