HORSEHEADS, NY (WENY) -- With colder temps fast approaching those heaters and furnaces will soon be firing up, because of that we spoke to fire officials about home heating safety. Earlier this afternoon we visited Town and Country Fire Department in Horseheads to find our more about how you and your family can stay safe this winter.

According to the National Fire Protection Association,  on average every year heating equipment causes 50 thousand fires across the country. Steve Walters, a local fireman, tells me that you should have you furnace inspected annually. We also spoke with Walters about the warning signs of potential trouble.

"There are a lot of warning signs. Strange noises, I know this time of year belts go bad on their furnaces they make a squeaky noise. If you notice any type of smoke coming out our your wood stove or pellet stove, make sure everything is put together properly and if you notice these things call someone and make sure that everything is installed right and that nothing is going to malfunction," said Walters.

Also, within the same report, every year on average 500 people die in fires blamed on heating related equipment.

Walters says, "Space heaters are a big issue, I know that they're becoming more popular, the kerosene and electric ones. Just make sure there's no objects that get close, so make sure you have a 5 foot perimeter around the heaters themselves to make sure no combustion can happen. Also, keep your children away from them as well. I know kids like to get close to them and I know they are hot and they could cause injuries or fires if they do tip them over."  

Having a smoke alarm is very important but Fireman Walters says there's another device that could save your life.

"Having C.O. detectors are also a big key. During this time of year we run into a lot of Carbon Monoxide issues, so make sure you change your batteries in your smoke alarm. Makes sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors and if they do go off please exit residence and call 9-1-1 as soon as possible," says Walters.

Also, "Make sure you have proper clearance between your furnace and any kind of materials you have laying around your furnace room. Cardboard, recycling bins, garbage. Definitely make sure you have your furnace inspected, we definitely recommend that," stated Walters.

Walters also says if you have a chimney or pellet stove, you should have them inspected every year so that creosote, which is a flammable oily liquid mixture, does not ultimately cause a house fire.