Fireplace, space heater safety tips to protect you family from fire

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MESA, Ariz. -- When the mercury drops, people scramble to fire up their heaters, dig out their space heaters or maybe even use the fireplace that has been sitting dormant for a year.

As Javier Soto explains, kicking on the heat can mean an increased risk of a house fire.

Forrest Smith of the Mesa Fire Department shared some basic safety tips that can help you protect your family and keep  your home from going up in smoke.

The cold weather started moving in on Saturday. Smith said Mesa crews were called out to three separate chimney fires that day.

Before using your fireplace for the first time this season, Smith suggests you have it professionally cleaned to clear out any creosote buildup that can ignite and spark a chimney fire.

Another issue it that people make their fires too big,

As Smith pointed out, the fireplaces in many newer homes are relatively small and not built to accommodate the heat of a roaring fire.

"You can create enough fire to cause your fireplace itself to catch fire," he said.

Whether you're using a fireplace or a space heater, you need to make sure to clear the clutter. You don't want anything flammable near your fireplace or space heater.

One of the most basic steps you can take to protect your family is to install smoke detectors throughout your house.

Firefighters will be the first to tell you that working smoke detectors save lives.