Though it’s been shorts weather in Missouri the past few days, colder temperatures are on the way. The State Fire Marshal’s office reminds everyone to heat their homes safely.

Photo courtesy State Fire Marshal / Dept. of Public Safety

Assistant Fire Marshal Greg Carrell says several Missourians already fired up their furnaces when fall weather blew in last week — he’s urging everyone to get their furnaces serviced by a professional and to replace filters.

And for wood-burning furnaces or fireplaces, he says never to burn green wood that can spark and throw embers. He also says fires should always be behind doors or a screen. He reminds folks that ashes can remain hot for some time after burning — many fires are caused by people setting a bucket of hot ashes on wood decking or near garage doors.

Carrell says those wanting to use auxiliary heaters need to heed a few words of caution too. Never leave them unmonitored, and keep them at least three feet from curtains, furniture, children and pets. He says never use a kitchen oven as a heat source.

But Carrell says above all, the Fire Marshal’s Office wants people to check their smoke detectors, make sure they’re working and that the batteries are good. Carrell says the rule of thumb is to change batteries every Spring and Fall, when we set the clocks back and forward. He recommends having a smoke detector in every room in the house.

The Fire Marshal’s Office reports that despite the hazards of the winter heating season, year after year, unattended cigarettes cause the most accidental fires in the state.

Greg Carrell talks about fire safety when heating your home [Listen Mp3, 3:31 min.]

For more, visit the Fire Marshal’s Q&A webpage.

Jessica Machetta reports [Mp3, 1:17 min.]