4 quick tips to prevent a fire in your house during this cold

Along with this cold snap -- came a bigger than usual number of fires in homes across our area.

PRINCE GEORGE'S CO, MD (WUSA9) - It's been cold. Very cold. And with this frigid weather, WUSA9's Debra Alfrone noticed firefighters are responding to more and more house fires.  

So, she went to Prince George's County and asked Assistant Fire Chief Christian Wargo for tips to help make sure a fire doesn't start in your home.

RELATED: Tips on how to stay safe when turning up the heat

Wargo said it's all about how you heat your home. 

  1. If you use a space heater, make sure it's a quality one. "You should use heaters that are new, that are listed with UL, that's underwriter laboratories, that has a thermostat and if it tips over or anything, it will turn off," Wargo said. 
  2. If you use a kerosene heater, never fill it up inside your home. Wargo said you have to take it outside, let it cool, refill it, then bring it back inside your home. 
  3. Make sure your furnace is clean, and is being maintained. Because if not, that could spark a fire, and many furnaces are in the basement. "Every year you should be cleaning out your furnace,  by a professional," Wargo said. 
  4. If you use your fireplace, there are some right ways to use it and some wrong ways. Make sure it's clean, serviced and inspected. Wargo said you want to make sure you're burning seasoned firewood. "Don't use any accelerants to start the fire." Lastly, getting rid of the ashes correctly is critical. "You want to use a metal bucket and take them outside the home, don't lean them up against anything , because they will smolder and that could start a fire."

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