Colder weather is on its way, and as temperatures drop, we know many of you will be turning to space heaters to keep your family warm.

Though our region is known elsewhere for its mild temperatures, those of us who live here know that it gets cold enough in North Florida this time of year to turn on the furnace, start a fire in the fireplace or plug in the space heater.

Whether reaching for the thermostat, bringing in the wood for a cozy fire or getting out that dusty space heater, there are precautions everyone needs to take in order to stay safe while staying warm.

Prepare now, during these days leading up to the colder weather that is approaching us.

If you use space heaters, clear an area for them.

Make sure the heaters are clear of dust or other particles that may have collected while in storage.

Don’t use space heaters near piles of clothing or papers or other flammable material.

Do not leave your space heaters unattended.

Remember to turn them off before leaving the home or even the room.

Check your furnace for dust build-up or other possible obstructions or problems.

Check your fireplace and chimney for obstructions.

Sadly, each year, as the temperatures drop, the number of residential fires rise.

Sometimes those fires result in more than property damage, including serious injuries and even the loss of life.

The fires are often caused by poorly kept furnaces or improper use of heaters.

A small amount of preparation may prevent tragedies and that’s cool for everyone.

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