KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — As temperatures begin to drop as winter approaches, Knoxville emergency officials are urging caution as community members begin to heat their homes.

“We will start seeing candle fires, we will start seeing heater fires, we will start seeing fires starting by heating pads and different things that have been placed on extension cords,” Assistant Chief with the Knoxville Fire Department Mark Wilbanks said.

Wilbanks urges caution if you are looking to bring out your heating devices, especially if they have not been used recently.

“Testing them early, making sure the cords are in good shape and always when you plug those things in, don’t put them in an extension cord,” Wilbanks said. “Try to keep them at least three feet away from anything that’s combustible.”

Despite the convenience that extension cords offer, Wilbanks highly discourages the use of them heading into winter months.

“An extension cord does extend your reach of whatever you’re trying to plug in, but the problem is most of the time, they’re not rated to carry the amount of electricity through those cords,” Wilbanks said. “So they overheat and start a fire or start a fire in the outlet.”

He also said to be on the lookout when turning on your furnace, especially if an odd smell arises.

“It’s like when you turn that hair dryer on for the first time right?” Wilbanks said of the odor. “So if you’re smelling that after about three to five minutes, something’s probably not right and it does need to be checked.”

Other helpful pieces of advice include leaving your taps on slightly to avoid freezing pipes as well as having your heating and electrical system serviced by a professional.