JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The bitter winter weather has arrived, but before you start turning on things to warm yourself up, Red Cross representatives are asking you to stop and think.
As the temperatures drop, the number of home fires caused by heating devices increase.
Pam Knapp-Carver with the American Red Cross said the key to preventing a fire is having everything checked before you flip a switch or light a match.
"For those central heat and air units particularly the gas ones you want to make sure a professional comes in and checks," said Carver. "Call the local chimney sweeps and have them come in and do a cleaning of your chimney."
Don't forget to clean space heaters that have been sitting in a closet because dust can cause a fire. Never use an oven or stove to heat your home.
Since November, the American Red Cross has responded to more than 251 residential fires across the state.