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Fire officials offer space heater safety tips following weekend house fires

(KY3)
Published: Nov. 20, 2016 at 6:34 PM CST
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Cooler temperatures have many people in the Ozarks cranking up the heat.

However, before plugging in space heaters, experts have some safety tips, following two weekend house fires that are being blamed on portable heaters.

"It cools off and they need that supplement heat to basically make it through the evenings and the night and they'll turn them on and that's when we run into problems," Logan-Rogersville Fire Protection District Assistant Chief Tim Clarkson said.

Clarkson says while the portable heaters can be helpful, knowing how to properly use them is key.

"Space heaters need to be placed on a solid, hard surface, not on carpet, not on furniture, not on anything combustible. They need to be at least three feet away from anything that is combustible," Clarkson said.

Newer space heaters often offer updated safety features like a warning indicator light that illuminates if over heating occurs and automatic overheat shut off and safety tip-over systems.

Dan Barton at Nixa Hardware says the when shopping for a space heater, choosing the best and the safest depends on your need.

"Running out and just buying a heater because it's a heater, those days have gone past, so now we look to fill the specific need," Barton said.

As heater season continues to pick up, Barton and fire officials urge all of us to always think safety first.

Assistant Chief Clarkson also suggests cleaning your heaters before turning them on, getting them checked by a professional, and never leaving them turned on when you're sleeping or not at home.