Space heaters hazardous if used incorrectly

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT)- With the winter months approaching, space heaters are popular this time of year.

If used incorrectly they can become a fire hazard quickly.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates space heaters are associated with more than 25,000 home fires a year, causing more than 300 deaths.

“We see too often people put them way too close to curtains and furniture,” said Jay Morris, Pitt County Fire Marshall.

Pitt County Deputy Fire Marshall, Jay Morris, said the most important thing to do is keep space heaters at least 4 feet from any object.

“We recommend you don’t use any sort of drop cord… they are designed to be plugged directly into an outlet,” said Morris. “The other thing we suggest is to use a newer model; you can lay it on its front to ensure the flip over switch works.”

Before heading to the store, customers should be aware of the size of the room they are trying to heat. Small space heaters are not meant to heat an entire home.

“Make sure it’s in a safe area and it’s vented enough so the fumes don’t get in there as well,” said Brock Jester. “Especially for those that require fuel.”

Morris says people need to be aware of the safety tips and maintenance requirements, so his department doesn’t have to make a visit to your home this holiday season.

“Enjoy the family time,” said Morris, “and of course emergency management just wants to do it in a safe manner.”

It’s also important to check the batteries in your smoke detectors and have a fire extinguisher present in your home at all times.

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