BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — With temperatures plummeting this week, many will be cranking up the heat for the first time in months.

Fire officials say it is important to be aware of the added risks associated with devices like space heaters.

“Space heaters can be extremely dangerous especially if they’re around kids or if they’re not on a flat surface,” Bay County Fire Captain Gabriel Moschella said. “Also, don’t plug them into extension cords or any type of extended outlet from your outlet. You always want to put a space heater directly in your outlet, and keep it approximately three feet away from any flammable object or combustible object. So any curtains you definitely don’t want your space heater by there. If a kid knocks over a space heater, that could cause a fire hazard as well.”

Moschella said the winter season is the most dangerous for household fires and said the department responds to space heater fires every year.

“It can be a common fire typically in the wintertime we’ll see a couple of a year unfortunate events of a space heater fire if they’re overloading a circuit from the space heater or if they’re just around a flammable object or something along those lines we’ll see a couple of them this year,” Moschella said.

But space heaters aren’t the only culprit in winter house fires.

“The Christmas holidays, people overloading their circuits, fireplaces, all that plays a huge factor in fires we see annually from the cold weather itself. So just be cautious. If you have any questions, you’re more than welcome to call your local fire department, and we will be more than happy to talk to you and help you out in any way we can.”

If you have a fireplace, Moschella recommends getting your fireplace and chimney cleaned annually to keep it from being overloaded with ash and debris.