National Fire Prevention Week is kicking off in Monroe County.

Four area fire companies are coming out together to spread a message of safety.

And it’s especially important to hear it this time of year when the number of house fires is known to spike.

As cooler weather sets in, many homeowners will be turning on the heat for the first time. But before you flip that switch, there’s an important step to take or it could cost you more than the bill.

Assistant Chief Eugene Berry Sr. of Marshalls Creek Fire Company says, "Homes are destroyed, lives are lost, property is lost. We need to educate people on safety inside with heaters, space heaters, fireplaces, wood stoves."

Berry is talking about National Fire Prevention Week that’s happening now. Low temperatures set in this weekend and the fire company had one of its first calls of the season. 

Berry explains, "It was a thermostat on an electric heater that malfunctioned and could have been worse than what it was, there was very slight damage to the house."

We’re told having your heating system checked and cleaned by a certified company before you start using it this fall could prevent incidents like that and others much worse.

Operations Manager John Touhy of r.j. Groner Inc. says, "The system that sits off all summer long where condensation, moisture because it’s sitting off, we get humid days and stuff like that start to build up inside that unit, they make something called creosote and creosote can start to harden like concrete, when that happens, basically blocks passages, chimneys things along those lines and that’s where you end up with carbon monoxide situations, those fire potentials that you see in the news a lot."

A professional like r.j. Groner would also be able to detect leaks and various malfunctions. The operations manager also had this warning:

Touhy says, "If you have any type of smell, soot, odor, a woosh, a bang, anything like that, turn it off, call a professional."

That’s just one way fire officials recommend to keep your family safe.

You can get a hands on feel and learn more at their 25th Annual Fire Prevention Community Night happening tomorrow night at J.T. Lambert Intermediate School.

Berry adds, "We’ll talk about smoke detectors, we’ll talk about escape plans. We’ll show them, we’ll be doing an automobile extrication for the parents and the children of you are in a car accident, we’re coming to help you. Medical Helicopter will be landing between 7 and 7:15 tomorrow night."

Marshalls Creek along with Bushkill, Shawnee and East Stroudsburg fire companies will hold the event from 6:30 to 9 p-m. Admission is free along with refreshments.