The temperature has started to drop and El Pasoans are now using their heater for the first time this season. Find out how to make sure your home is heated safely.

As the air gets colder and El Pasoans are starting to bundle up for winter, the El Paso Fire Department is reminding people to make sure their homes are heated safely. Make sure home heaters and fireplaces are checked and inspected to make sure they aren't releasing carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that is dangerous and deadly. Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning can resemble flu-like symptoms including dizziness, fatigue and nausea.

When first using your heaters, furnaces and fireplaces for the season, the El Paso Fire Department recommends having a qualified professional inspect them prior to use. The department also recommends having working carbon monoxide detectors in your home as well as working smoke alarms.

Another big concern for the fire department are the use of space heaters inside homes during the winter months. The risk of fires from space heaters is 3-4 times higher than from central heating equipment.

The El Paso Fire Department offers these precautions to keep safe and warm during the winter:

1. After reading the instruction manual and checking for the testing approval mark, inspect the heater cord for frays and/or damage. Do not use it if it is damaged.

2. Plug the heater directly into the outlet and never use extension cords.

3. Keep the space heater at least three feet away from anything that can catch fire or is damp or wet, and be sure to use only a flat, level floor surface.

4. Keep space heaters away from high-traffic areas, but never leave them unattended or in rooms with unsupervised children.

5. Make sure the circuit where the heater is plugged in can handle the added demand. Always turn off, unplug and safely store heater when not in use.

Find out more safety tips for you, your family and your home at the El Paso Fire Department website under the Fire Prevention "Safety Tips" area.