ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - As cold weather approaches the state this weekend, Albuquerque Fire Fighters say it's a good time to remind homeowners to check on heating sources for their houses.
Already this fall, there have been at least five instances this fall where homes have burned because of problems with people heating their homes.
First, you should inspect your furnace and make sure it's safe to use during the day when people are likely not to be home. If you find a problem, you should call a professional.
If you use a wood stove or fireplace, you should get your chimney inspected every year and cleaned if it's dirty. Also, remember to keep your flue open until the ashes and embers are cool. Make sure fires are out before you go to sleep, this is the cause of many house fires every year.
If you decide to use a space heater, you should make sure it's at least three feet away from anything that can burn. Those include bedspreads and curtains and you should make sure it automatically shuts off if kids bump into the device.
"The Albuquerque Fire Department is always worried about citizens firing up their heating sources for the fall winter season," says fire spokesperson Melissa Romero. "So it's important that every citizen gets their heating sources checked by a qualified technician on an annual basis."
Another thing home owners should be aware of is carbon monoxide poisoning in the homes. It's a good recommendation to use a carbon monoxide detector and if you feel lightheaded or nauseous, you should get out and get fresh air immediately.
One more big suggestion is to make sure you and your family have a plan to evacuate your home in case of a fire.
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New Mexico is at the beginning of a deep freeze, and state officials are paying close attention.