BERKELEY COUNTY, W.Va. (WDVM) — In these cold winter temperatures, firefighters are warning us to take precautions to prevent flammable danger in the home and workplace. In addition, public safety officials have sound advice for the season, especially how a carbon monoxide detector is an important tool for protection.

It’s the time of year when we find creative ways to keep our homes warm. But with that comes dangerous risk.

“The biggest concern that we have right now during the winter months is that carbon monoxide is going to be prevalent in the homes because of the fuel-based products that you have,” said Teresa Ann Crisman, with the office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal.

Fire officials from the neighboring states are taking the initiative to warn the public about home safety precautions to prevent deadly fires.

“Carbon monoxide is a silent killer,” said George Harms, Assistant West Virginia state fire marshal. “It’s odorless, it’s colorless and it’s recommended that if you have any sort of fuel-burning systems in your house that you should have a carbon monoxide detector.”

Fire officials advise home systems like Knox brand detection units, which are usually available at hardware, home improvement, or many big box stores, as a way to monitor potential CO levels in the home.

“You want to have all the combustibles in your area that are not going to create a hazard,” said Crisman. “Especially with space heaters. That’s a big thing, too, where it’s a three-foot area around your space heater that you want free and clear of any combustible.”

These fire officials say CO poisoning is the second leading cause of poisoning death after drugs. Engine-driven generators are a likely source of CO poisoning, though gas ranges and ovens can also be a source.

Firefighters are working in their local communities to make prevention key. Remember that carbon monoxide is both odorless and colorless and is produced from fuel-burning sources. It’s a good idea to give your heating system an annual checkup from a certified technician and only buy gas appliances that come with a seal from a testing agency like underwriters laboratories.