This is a news release. It was NOT written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit community announcements to The Voice, email tips@ithacavoice.com.

ITHACA, N.Y. — The Ithaca Fire Department reminds the community to take extra care when heating their homes this season. Home heating fires are the second leading cause of house fires in the country, second only to cooking fires.

Here are some reminders to get you safely through the season:

Time Changes Mean Battery Changes: Get in the habit of changing the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors every fall and spring when changing the clocks for Daylight Savings Time. It is also a good idea to make it standard procedure in your household to verify that all fire extinguishers are fully charged and in working order when you adjust the clocks each season.

Heating System Safety Tips: Get your central heating system cleaned, inspected and serviced by a certified HVAC (heating, venting and air conditioning) contractor every year before using it. If you have a gas heater, make sure that you have a sufficient quantity of fully functioning carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home.

Space Heater Safety Tips: Make sure that any space heaters are surrounded by at least three feet of empty space. Never place clothing or any other objects on a space heater to dry. Do not place space heaters near furniture or drapery. Turn space heaters off when you leave the house or go to bed. Avoid storing any combustible items near heaters.

Fireplace Safety Tips: Get your chimney inspected each year to make sure that it is safe. Hire a chimney sweep to clean out your chimney every fall. Repair any cracks in fireplaces. Use fireplace screens to keep sparks and fire debris inside the fireplace. Do not every use gasoline to start a fire in the fireplace. Never leave a fire unattended. Make sure
that combustible materials are not stored within three feet of your fireplace. For natural gas fireplaces, get all connections and lines inspected before use each season.