Let me let you in on a little secret...Winter is right around the corner. I know! Do you dare believe it? 

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If you're like me, your heat has been on for the last couple of weeks, but sometimes it isn't enough. The chill just sinks into your bones. That's when the fireplaces and space heaters make an entrance. Just remember: these winter comforts can provide coziness, but if left unaccompanied, they can become fire hazards.

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety:

"In 2020, 421 fires occurred in Minnesota because of heating equipment. Almost half of those (197) were caused by heating units like boilers and furnaces. Next in line, causing 192 fires were fireplaces and chimneys."

Luckily, these fires are easily avoidable, especially if you follow these safety tips. 

1. Professionally check your furnace, fireplace, and chimney annually to ensure everything is working properly. 

2. Never leave space heaters unattended and never sleep with space heaters on!

3. Plug space heaters directly into the wall instead of using an extension cord. Space heaters pull a lot of power!

4. Abide by the three-foot rule: nothing should be closer than three feet away from your space heater.

5. This seems obvious, but don't use your oven as a heating source (unless, of course, for food).

6. Lastly, double-check that your smoke alarm (and carbon monoxide alarms) work. 

Don't get me wrong, I am so excited to cozy up on the couch with a blanket and the fireplace on, but I will be taking the proper steps to ensure my family and home are safe this winter!

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