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Prevent fires by preparing your home for winter 

BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. -- Virginia Sumeland has learned the importance of fire preparation. About 30 years ago, her dryer caught fire due to excess lint.

So ever since then, she's done annual checks on her smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

"When you set the clocks back, I change my batteries," she said.

Blytheville Fire Chief Mike Carney directed citizens to act as Sumeland does.

“We recommend space heaters be at least 3 feet from all ignitable material," he said. "Have those fireplaces and chimneys inspected by a professional."

Blytheville and many other fire departments around the Mid-South give out smoke detectors for free.

"We will go out and install it in your house if you request us to," Carney said. "Statistically, year after year, the No. 1 cause of home fires is actually unattended cooking. Almost 50 percent of home fires start in the kitchen.”

For more tips on keeping your family safe, click here.