ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) wants to remind New Yorkers about how to safely heat their homes in colder weather. According to data from the National Fire Protection Association, half of all home heating fires occur in December, January and February.

FASNY said fire departments across the U.S. responded to an average of 48,530 fires involving heating equipment each year from 2014 to 2018. These fires resulted in 500 deaths, 1,350 injuries and $1.1 billion in property damage.

“Many people continue to work from home, leading to an increased use of heat appliances,” said FASNY President John P. Farrell. “Fire departments throughout the state typically see an increase in the number of fires they respond to this time of year, with many caused by improperly operated or poorly maintained equipment.”

Space heaters and fireplaces can increase the risk of a home fire when used improperly. FASNY said homeowners should check that all their heating equipment is functioning properly and double check that their carbon monoxide and smoke detectors have fresh batteries.

Home heating suggestions from FASNY:

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment
  • Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters
  • Never use your oven to heat your home
  • Have a professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a professional
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed
  • Always use the right kind of fuel for fuel burning space heaters
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month