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Editorial: Take efforts to protect yourself from winter fires

As the weather gets colder outside and people are using various heating sources to keep warm, the risk for house fires increases.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, home fires occur more in the winter months than any other time of the year.

From 2013 to 2015, an average of 45,900 home heating fires occurred in the United States each year, causing an annual average of 205 deaths and 725 injuries.

Home heating fires peaked in the early evening hours between 5 and 9 p.m.

The agency states fires confined to chimneys, flues or fuel burners accounted for 75% of home heating fires, and 29% of non-confined home heating fires occurred when a heat source was too close to something that could burn.

What are the biggest things people can do to prevent this from happening in their homes?

The agency advises people to keep anything that can burn at least three feet from all heat sources, including fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators, space heaters or candles.

People should never use an oven to heat their home and should turn space heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed. Space heaters should also be plugged directly into wall outlets instead of into an extension cord or power strip.

If using heating equipment or chimneys make sure to have them cleaned and inspected each year by a professional.

Implement these tips to ensure a safe winter for you and your family.