CHICAGO (CBS) — This time of year, we often see an increase in home fires, mostly because of people using alternative heat sources such as space heaters.

Experts said if you use a space heater, you should place it on a hard, flat surface such as a tile floor – and never on a carpet.

You should also make sure it is at least three feet from anything flammable.

“Home fires are so dangerous that they claim more lives in a year than any natural disasters combined,” said American Red Cross spokeswoman Isis Chaverri. “Seven people die every day in the United States because of a home fire.”

The American Red Cross said it is crucial to have working smoke detectors in your home. You should test them once a month and change the batteries twice a year.

Also From CBS Chicago:

CBS 2 Chicago Staff