CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — Cleveland Fire Lieutenant Mike Norman stopped by the FOX 8 studios on Saturday to talk about how to keep your home safe from fire during the upcoming winter months and the holiday season.

Before heading over to your thermostat to crank the heat, he said it’s important to get your furnace checked by a qualified technician.

He also said to “give space heaters space” – at least 3 feet of space; to keep clothing, bedding and paper away from them and plug them directly into the wall.

With the holiday season approaching, people are preparing meals for the one or two times a year that they do cook, so the fire department expects to see a spike in house fires, he explained.

“Our busiest days for cooking fires are Thanksgiving and Christmas,” he said. “You want to make sure you’re attentive to whatever you’re cooking, don’t leave the kitchen if you have something on the stovetop and don’t leave the house if you have something in the oven.”

He also said that if company comes to the door while something is on the stove, take an oven mitt with you for a reminder that you’re cooking.

The Uniontown Fire Department recently issued a warning about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning in homes, calling it the silent killer.

The CDC blames the tasteless, odorless gas for 500 deaths per year in the United States.

One person was killed in Akron following a carbon monoxide detection at an apartment complex last week, according to the Summit County medical examiner’s office.

As the cold season is here to stay for months on end, residents will inevitably look for ways to warm up by cranking the heat from their furnaces, stoves and fireplaces – which the CDC says are among the leading causes of CO poisoning in homes.

With that, the fire department posted CO safety reminders to keep in mind:

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector on every level of your home, especially where you sleep
  • Have your furnace, water heater and any other gas or other fuel-burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year
  • Have your chimney cleaned every year
  • Make sure your fireplace damper is open before lighting a fire
  • Never use a gas oven for heating your home
  • Never use a generator inside your home, basement or garage, or less than 20 feet from any window, door or vent; fatal levels of carbon monoxide can be produced in just minutes, even if doors and windows are open
  • Never run a car in a garage that is attached to a house, even with the garage door open

Common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion, the CDC says.

We’re just days away from turning back our clocks one hour. That’s your cue to change the batteries in your smoke and CO detectors.