Firefighters share safety tips for using space heaters

Firefighters share safety tips for using space heaters
Members of area fire departments discuss space heater safety. (Source: WDAM)

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - With frigid temperatures moving through the Pine Belt, many may use a space heater to warm up.

But, those heaters come with some dangers.

Officials with the Hattiesburg Fire Department are sharing some tips to keep you and your home safe.

“Keep a 3-foot radius clear of any objects, towels, bedding, drapes, furniture even,” said Chris Carr, Director of Fire Training for the Hattiesburg Fire Department. “Keep pets and children away from the heaters. Keep the heater out of a high traffic area or a walkway so that it’s not a trip hazard. Make sure that it’s on a flat surface so it doesn’t tip over and catch a rug or some carpet on fire.”

Members of the Columbia Fire Department say one of the biggest mistakes that can be made when using a space heater is plugging it into an extension cord.

“Do not use an extension cord,” said Nathan Guy, Shift Captain with the Columbia Fire Department. “If it can’t be plugged directly into a wall, it doesn’t need to be in that area. That is the biggest concern is them running it through an extension cord, because that is a catastrophic failure.”

But, what exactly causes that to happen?

“Basically, what’s happening is the heating element that’s in the heater is drawing too much current, and it’s melting the insulation in the wires, and they’re shortening themselves out,” said Guy.

As a reminder, immediately get out of the house and call 911 if you do have a fire.

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