CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A cold front is dropping our temperatures over the next few days. That means a lot of heaters will be firing up for the first time in months.
The Corpus Christi Fire Department and Battalion Chief Jim DeVisser have some reminders before turning the heat up.
"During the winter season or colder season, the number of fire calls that we respond to goes up pretty dramatically." DeVisser said.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, heating is the second leading cause of home fires.
"When you first turn on your furnace, you can expect for there to be the lint, the dust is going to have to burn off of those elements," DeVisser said. "You may get a little bit of smoke that comes out of there but if you get a lot of smoke or the smoke just continues to come out you need to call the fire department."
A good way to prevent that call is with regular maintenance on your furnace, stove and hot water heaters.
If you have a fireplace, make sure the flue is open and the chimney is clean.
"When you go to sleep, make sure that that's all turned out," DeVisser said. "Leaving the fireplace burning after you go to bed is extremely dangerous."
Another fireplace-related hazard is incorrect disposal of charcoal or ashes.
"You need to take those things and water them down ... and just let them sit out in the open for a period of time," he said.
"Make sure that everything is operating as it should, make sure that it is cleaned up, make sure the coils are clean, make sure you don't have any deposits or build up."
The most severe calls to the fire department this time of year involve portable or space heaters. Placing these instruments too close to curtains, a chair or couch in your home can be deadly.
"If you do use a space heater, the fire department says to make sure the area is clear and recommends placing the heater on a hard surface away from combustibles," he said.
And a final reminder from the fire department, make sure your smoke alarms are working. DeVisser recommends changing the batteries on each Daylight Savings day.
If you are a homeowner and do not have working smoke detectors, you may qualify for free smoke alarms from the Corpus Christi Fire Department.