Ridge Road Fire District recently offered several winter fire safety tips for Rochester area residents.

Heating equipment is a leading cause of home deaths, half of which are reported in December, January and February. Heating, holiday decorations, winter storms and candles all contribute to an increased risk of fire during the winter months.

Residents should keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from heating equipment, such as the furnace, fireplace, wood stove and/or portable space heater. Do not allow children within a 3-foot zone around open fires and space heaters.

Never use ovens to heat homes. Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.

Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional. Test smoke alarms at least once a month. Keep fire hydrants clear of snow.

Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed. Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from the house.