Fire prevention week is underway and firefighters around the state are encouraging homeowners to protect themselves from the most common causes of house fires.
"A lot of them start with furnaces because people don't maintain them. A lot of them start with what I call 'creative heating' like space heaters too close to combustible items, opening up a gas stove and letting carbon monoxide into your house, that's deadly," said Indianapolis Fire Department Fire Marshal Fred Pervine.
Pervine said it's important for homeowners to bring in an expert to inspect chimneys, furnaces and other heating systems annually.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America trains chimney inspectors from around the country. The facility in Plainfield includes a lab with different types of furnaces and chimneys to teach modern day chimney sweets the latest technology.
"In the autumn when people have sent their children back to school and they’re preparing for the winter then the fireplace comes to mind," said Ashley Eldridge, director of education for the Chimney Safety Institute of America.
"Before that they’re more worried about their garden, so there is a push to have chimney sweeps work this kind of year which means that they unfortunately may have to wait longer to get their service."
Eldridge said people often believe they only need an inspection if they have a wood burning fireplace, but chimney sweeps take a look at furnaces, dryer vents and stoves as well.
"One of the most common misconceptions about chimneys is if it’s standing it must be working that’s definitely not the case most people don’t see inside their chimney and they assume that it’s working when it may in fact be blocked," said Eldridge.
The CSIA trains inspectors to use cameras that go up inside chimneys, looking for cracks and problems that will allow dangerous gases to come back inside the home.
"The normal association with the need for a chimney sweep is associated with a fire or dramatic event but there are several subtle things like long term low level exposure to carbon monoxide. That's dangerous. It doesn’t have to be a spoke. If you find people in the house are acting like they have flu like symptoms when they are home feel better when they are not at home it could be that the exhaust from the chimney is not venting outside the home," said Eldridge.
Firefighters are also pushing safety messages during Fire Prevention Week including the importance of working smoke detectors. IFD will go on four "smoke detector blitz" runs to neighborhoods where people typically don't have or cant' afford smoke detectors. The Wayne Township Fire Department is encouraging people to take the Fire Prevention Quiz.
"The message doesn't change. Smoke detectors save lives. Get out and stay out. Stop, drop and roll. If we keep constantly saying that message people will get it and they are," said Pervine.