PINE BELT (WDAM) - More cold weather on the way could mean more house fires in the area as people try to stay warm.
"The volume of fires happen more frequently in the winter months due to the lack of heating safety. Whether you're talking about using candles, whether you're talking about using space heaters, fireplaces that may be left unattended," said Stephen Mooney, Fire Marshal for the Hattiesburg Fire Department.
Mooney and other fire officials said there are things you can do to decrease the risk of a destructive fire at you home during the winter.
"Let's look at how can we do this safely. How can we protect ourselves? Whether it means not leaving the stove unattended, not leaving the fireplace burning unattended," Mooney said. "Blow the candles out when you leave the room. You can relight them when you come back in the room. Do not leave those candles burning."
"In the case of electrical devices, those devices need to be plugged right directly into an outlet. Never use an extension cord, because they'll overheat and create a fire," said Dan McKenna, Jones County Fire Coordinator. "With your gas devices, make sure it's a well-ventilated area, so that carbon monoxide doesn't become an issue."
Both Mooney and McKenna recommend using a smoke detector in your home.
"Check your smoke detectors. Make sure you have them. Make sure they're not over 10 years old," said Mooney.
"Your opportunity to escape is a limited window," said McKenna. "Those smoke detectors will help you provide your opportunity to escape in that limited window time."
According to the National Fire Protection Association, 3,390 civilian fire deaths and 14,650 civilian fire injuries were reported in the U.S. in 2016.