BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — As cold fronts continue to move in, local fire officials are urging residents to be extra cautious when heating their homes.

Fire crews are reminding everyone to be safe this winter, especially when using heating devices to stay warm.

Birmingham Fire Department said this time of year is typically very busy at the fire station.
So far this week, they have responded to 13 fires.

Battalion Chief Jackie Hicks said many fires during the winter months are caused by heating devices like space heaters, blankets or from using an oven to stay warm.

“We have to be careful when we’re using these heating devices. Like we said before make sure you are using your manufactures recommendations. Be involved with our public safety education division, we’re there 24/7 to answer questions. All of these can assist you in being safe when the weather turns cold,” Hicks said.

Hicks wants to remind the public that the fire department offers free smoke detectors. He said they will even come to your home and install it.

According to Hicks, oftentimes people die from smoke inhalation or carbon monoxide poising, not the fire itself. Hicks said a smoke detector is your first line of defense and a great way to be proactive in preventing a major fire from happening.