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The U.S. Fire Administration says winter fires cause an estimated 945 people to die each year, and accounts for more than a billion dollars in property damage.
People like Norman Vickers are trying to stay warm and safe.
"You want to make sure your equipment is in good shape, and I'm not an expert in that field so we'll get the experts to do it for us" said Norman Vickers.
Vickers is getting his gas furnace checked by Air Design Systems technicians. This is only his second winter using a gas furnace and figures since it's been sitting idle for months collecting dust, it's time to get it cleaned by the professionals and for good reason.
"That first time they fire up those heaters it's burning that dust that collects on them and if you allow that dust to collect too long, it can actually cause a fire" said Craig Ammons, Escambia Fire Rescue.
Firefighters say most winter related fires are cooking related. Craig Ammons has fought fires for a long time. He knows when the temperature drops people often do what they can to stay warm, sometimes safely by using a well maintained fireplace or space heaters with an automatic shut-off switch in case it tips over.
Some people will stick with their old and faulty appliances and in some cases they use their stove and oven to keep warm. A demonstration video show in a matter of minutes, a couch sitting next to an unattended heater catches fire and soon spread to destroy the home.
Vickers says he doesn't have to worry about any portable heaters catching fire in his home because he doesn't own any. Instead, he's sticking to his gas furnace that is checked and cleaned regularly.