FORT ST. JOHN, B.C –  The Fort St. John Fire Department is sharing fire prevention tips as more families use heating equipment during the winter.

Fire Prevention Officer Captain Marco D’Agostino says heating safety is important since many residents use space heaters and other equipment to stay warm.

“There’s a lot of things that you have to look for, to make sure that they’re used correctly as per the manufacturer’s recommendations, you want to keep them away from combustibles, that kind of stuff,” says D’Agostino.

One of the main issues to watch for is plugging space heaters into extension cords.

“Most of them are designed to be plugged right into the wall without an extension cord, start adding extension cords; they add more draw, which is a good way to start a fire.”

Homeowners are also urged to watch for potential carbon monoxide (CO) accumulation from fuel-burning equipment.

“[It is] obviously colourless, odourless and quite deadly. So make sure you have a working CO alarm all the time and make sure that your equipment is vented properly.”

The fire department receives a fair amount of calls related to heating equipment during the winter. D’Agostino mentions they’re usually CO calls.

“It’s a good idea, as winter’s coming, to prepare for it by calling out a technician to come out and check your furnace. To make sure everything’s working properly before we get right into the colder months.”

“It’s never one thing, there’s a whole gamut of things that can be related to heating.”

On Thursday, the fire department posted a sheet from the National Fire Protection Association(NFPA) on Facebook outlining tips residents can use during the winter:

According to the NFPA, half of home heating fires are reported between December to February.