HOUSTON (KIAH) – In the wake of the recent deadly fires on the East Coast, and the apartment fire in the Houston Area, the Houston Fire Department is sharing the importance of keeping your family safe during the cooler months.

Safety officials say fires can spread in a matter of seconds. The key to increasing your chances of survival is planning and preparation.

When the weather changes and temperatures get cooler. People are more likely to use space heaters, generators, or stovetops to heat their homes.

There are some precautions with doing that. First, keep flammable objects at least three feet away. Don’t put space heaters too close to the bed. Leave generators outside.

Another tip is to avoid plugging too many cords into one outlet or surge protector. This can also cause a fire. This includes extension cords.

Founder of the Resilience Action Fund, Aris Papadopoulos says family discussions are key. because even if you don’t see flames, smoke is there and it’s just as dangerous and deadly.

“Engage the family kind of in a discussion maybe every 3 to 4 months about the importance of fire. And have like a fire drill. You know, almost like a – you can make it both educational and maybe fun for the kids and the family,” said Papadopoulos.

If you get trapped in a smokey area and visibility is low, you should get down close to the ground and crawl your way out. Of course, get to the nearest exit. A lot of times that’s a window. If so, wave an object outside so someone can see that you’re trapped.

This is also a reminder to check the batteries in your smoke detector. If you don’t have one, you can contact your local fire department. It’s also recommended to have a fire extinguisher nearby and know how to use it.