It's cold in the Yakima Valley and people living throughout the area are doing all they can to stay warm. Yakima firefighters know this can be a dangerous time of year because people do all kinds of things to warm homes up in this weather says West Valley Fire Chief Nathan Craig. The most common types of heating devices people use in Yakima are woodstoves and space heaters. Both if used properly can create heat to make any home comfortable but Craig says the problem is that people don't always follow all the directions and that's when problems can happen.
Fire officials say if you have a woodstove or fireplace it must be cleaned at least once a year to keep it from catching fire itself. Over time the wood fire creates creosote buildup and ash accumulates which can be dangerous.
If you use baseboard heaters always keep clothes and curtains at least 3-feet from the device. If you use space heaters also keep clothes and curtains away from the devices and check the cord because old cords can lead to a fire. If you have a furnace make sure you have it maintained and change the filter every 6 months.
Firefighters say even if you follow all the rules and precautions there's still a chance of a fire so they say it's vital to working smoke detectors in all the bedrooms and common areas of your home. They also say you need a fire escape plan that you practice with your family.