SPRINGFIELD, Fla. (WMBB) — With cold weather this time of year, heating your home is important, but it can sometimes be dangerous.

The National Fire Protection Association said heating equipment is a leading cause of house fires in the country. Nearly half of those happen in the winter months.

Fire officials want to encourage residents to make sure their home’s smoke detectors are up to date.

Springfield Fire Chief Brian Eddins said it’s important for homeowners to stay educated on fire safety and potential hazards.

“Education’s getting better with the fire departments going out and educating people,” Chief Eddins said. “Just remember to get a smoke alarm. If you can’t afford one, go to your local fire department. We offer them free for our citizens here in Springfield.”

He also said to be extra cautious when using space heaters, as they are prone to burning things placed too close and sometimes starting fires.

Learn more about how to stay safe when heating your home in the winter months.