Heating is one of the leading causes of home fires in the United States. In fact, heating fires account for more than 16 percent of residential home fires every year. Residents often supplement their main heating system with heat alternatives including fireplaces, wood stoves and portable fuel or electric heaters. According to Dawson County Emergency Services Deputy Chief Tim Satterfield: All home heating systems require regular maintenance to function safely and efficiently. Satterfield suggests the following U. S. Fire Administration simple safety tips: Have chimneys professionally inspected and cleaned each year; Ensure wood stoves are properly installed; Make sure space heaters are kept at least 3 feet away from flammables and have an emergency tip-over, shut-off control; Use a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace to prevent sparks from igniting drapes, furniture and carpets; Never use a range or oven to heat your home. For more information on home heating safety, call Dawson County Emergency Services at (706) 344-3666. Dawson County Emergency Services is committed to the preservation of the lives and property of the citizens of Dawson County.