Safety tips to remember when operating space heaters

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 6:49 PM CST
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VICKSBURG, Miss. (WLBT) - The investigation continues into a deadly fire in the Bronx started by a space heater that malfunctioned in a high-rise apartment.

Local fire officials now offering safety tips and warning the public about the dangers of space heaters.

As the temperatures drop, many Mississippians are using space heaters to stay warm. Vicksburg Fire Department is recommending safety first when using the portable heaters.

“It only takes 15 seconds for this sheet to start a fire, for this space heater to start a fire,” said fire investigator Nathaniel Willams.

Vicksburg firefighters say space heater infernos can happen when you put a space heater too close to combustible objects, such as furniture, clothing, even bedding.

“That is the message we’re trying to get out; to be careful with your space heaters. We actually prefer a central air and heat because that is the safest way to heat your home,” said Deputy Chief Derrick Stamps.

Firefighters say if you do use heaters, here are a few tips:

• Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from the wall and flammable objects.

• Put your space heater on the floor.

• Never tilt your space heaters.

• Plug heaters directly into a wall outlet instead of an extension cord or a surge protector.

• Never leave the heater alone in a room.

Firefighters also recommend you have your space heaters inspected to make sure they are functioning properly.

“Sometimes you should look for the age of your space heater. You don’t want to get grandma or papa’s space heater from the 1970s or the 1980s where it didn’t have the tilt mechanism and if it falls over and it doesn’t have the shut off or safety mechanism. So, sometimes it’s good to make sure your space heaters have the correct mechanisms, the safety mechanisms like the new age ones,” said Williams.

“Smoke alarms are very important. Smoke alarms are the first line of defense. They let you know there is smoke in the home. Actually, the Vicksburg Fire Department installs smoke alarms free of charge if you live inside the city limits,” added Stamps.

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