Just because the warm, dry weather is gone doesn’t mean the risk of a fire starting in your home in any less.

Hastings Highlands Fire Chief Danny Koroscil explains that with people turning the heating appliances in their home on the fire time in many months, it’s important you know how to work and maintain them.

The first thing you need to do is to make sure the appliances are checked by a licensed contractor.

Koroscil says that you need to make sure that you keep your chimney clean and any intake or exhaust vents for furnaces or other heating appliances are kept clean and clear of debris, ice and snow build-up. “Some of the things we saw last winter were people cleaning their wood stove and then instead of taking the ashes outside they put them in a can inside their home,” he says. You should allow ashes to cool before emptying them into a metal container. Another important common sense tip is to make sure you keep your space heater at least three feet away from anything that can catch on fire like curtains.

A lot of people like to get their car running in the morning so it’s warm when they hop in to drive to work. Koroscil says that’s fine, but you need to make sure your car is not in your garage.

Koroscil says the most important thing to remember is that if you’re not comfortable or familiar with what you need to do, call the fire department and ask or reach out to a licensed contractor.