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Arkansas fire officials share safety tips as temperatures begin to drop

Many people have already turned on the heat, but as temperatures begin to fall, fire officials want to remind you of the dangers of your heater or chimney.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — As Arkansans begin to flip their heat on, Little Rock Fire Department (LRFD) Captain Doug Coffman said that is when the station's starts getting more calls.

"When people start turning on their heaters for the first time. Yeah, it happens very often," Coffman said.

He said it boils down to one step that many people overlook.

"The main reason is because the equipment's not being inspected properly," Coffman said.

He said the easiest way to keep you and your family safe is to get a heating and air company to come to your home to check out your system ever year.

"They'll clean everything. Change out your filters, and they also clean out your ductwork," Coffman said.

Space heaters are a good way to keep small areas, like a bathroom or a bedroom, at a comfortable temperature.

Coffman said that could create a safety hazard if you are not paying attention.

"People will will turn them on and use that for permanent heat. Well, then they get complacent about having stuff get close to them or throwing clothes in the floor next to them," Coffman said.

People also often rely on chimneys for warmth, but you have to make sure you are keeping them clean, as well as using the right kind of firewood.

"[I] definitely recommend burning wood, this less than 20% moisture content. Because if if there's more than 20%, that actually doesn't burn hot enough," Coffman said.

If you plan to use your fireplace to stay warm this fall and winter, well you might run into another issue.

"Unfortunately, we are all out of our season wood," Billy Etter, with Razorback Firewood, said.

According to Etter, as people start looking to buy firewood to stay warm, the current supply in central Arkansas just can't keep up with the demand. 

"A couple of years ago, there were at least five of us in the area that were doing firewood," said Etter.

It is not too late to get your chimneys and heaters looked at. 

Coffman said it's better to do that now, rather than later to make sure things are working properly.