JOPLIN, MO.--- Fire officials recommend checking the furnace lighter before turning your heat back on. They say months of inactivity can cause dust which could be a potential smoke and fire hazard. Firefighters say they tend to see a spike in residential fire calls around this time of year, caused by people firing up furnaces and heaters for the first time.
"A lot of the fires that we go to can be prevented. Like I spoke about before, a lot of it just needs to be inspected before we turn on our furnaces or start a fire in our fire places," states Captain Ryan Huntley, Carthage Fire Department.
Fire officials also recommend you keep holiday decorations at a safe distance from any heating source in your home. Also, always make sure to have your chimney checked before you use your fireplace for the first time.