Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - 2:42pm

Before brisk winds and cold temperatures roll into Madison this weekend, it’s time to prepare your home for winter, a season of increased fire and carbon monoxide risk.
Here are four simple things you can do to keep yourself and your family safe: 

1. Install, test your carbon monoxide alarms.
Carbon monoxide alarms should be installed on every floor of your home and in or near every room where people sleep. After that, the next best location for an additional CO alarm is in the area of any major gas-burning appliance, such as a furnace or water heater, but place it no closer than 15 feet of the appliance itself. Follow the manufacturer's instructions when installing alarms, and test them once per month.
2. Have your appliances cleaned and inspected.
Ensuring your furnace, stove, and other appliances are clean and passed inspection will cut down on the chances they pose a carbon monoxide or fire threat inside your home. Always be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing wood-burning stoves or gas heaters, or have them installed by a professional.
3. Clean your chimney.
Clogged chimneys have the potential to turn your relaxing evening by the fireside into an unexpected emergency. Whether due to soot buildup or birds nesting inside, chimneys are an easy place for fire hazards to hide. Now is the time to hire a qualified professional to ensure your chimney is clean and clear. 
4. Keep space heaters attended at all times.
When running portable space heaters, all other objects should remain at least three feet away on all sides. Stay in the room while space heaters are running, and always be sure to turn them off when you leave or go to bed.

For more information on how to stay safe and prevent injury this winter, join Madison Fire Marshal Ed Ruckriegel and other presenters at the 2016 Winter Weather Safety Workshop, Thursday, November 17, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the Warner Park Community Center, Room 1 (1625 Northport Drive).