DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – With a winter storm expected to hit the Miami Valley Thursday, experts are offering advice to prepare your home for cold temperatures and possible power outages.

Steve Howard with HomeTeam Inspection Service in Dayton said it’s not too late to prepare your home for the cold. One easy thing you can do before the storm arrives is make sure hoses are removed from exterior faucets.

“We see this in the springtime as they’ve been left on all winter, and it causes plumbing damage when things thaw out,” Howard said.

Howard said problems also occur when downspouts and gutters aren’t cleaned out.

“Probably a little late now to climb up on your house and clean your gutters, but there’s one thing that can be done even on a day like today, is to clear out the area where you’re downspouts, dump in your yard, Howard said.

For fire departments, their biggest concern during a cold snap are fireplaces, generators and space heaters.

“Three months out of the 12 months accounts for 50% of our fires,” Community Risk Reduction for the Vandalia Fire Department Scott Jacobs said. “Most of that is involved either around electric or heating or alternative heating.”

Jacobs said it is O.K. to use space heaters, but make sure you are following safety precautions.

“We just don’t ever want you to plug it into an extension cord and always plug just one heater into an outlet,” Jacobs said. “Never overload outlets. Heaters draw an extreme amount of power and they can overload systems pretty quickly.”

Howard said if you have a fireplace or a furnace, make sure to have it inspected once a year to keep it running safely and efficiently.

A representative with AES Ohio said it only takes around a half inch of ice on a line to cause an outage. AES is staffing up ahead of the storm to be ready to respond to any outages.

If the power does go out, Jacobs said candles should be away from other combustibles and not left unattended. He also said not try to heat your home with your stove or oven. If you have a generator, make sure it’s outside.

“Oftentimes, people are tempted to put it in their garage because it’s sort of away from the living area that carbon monoxide can get in there,” Jacobs said. “If you have a generator, it should definitely be outside.”

Jacobs said now is also a good time to check your fire detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

If the power does do out, Jacobs said make sure you have a storm kit and a plan.

“Make sure you’ve got flashlights, make sure you’ve got batteries in,” Jacobs said. “If it’s going to be extended, you may need to look in an additional place, a friend or relative that you can stay with with heat.”