Chief urges citizens to use caution with heaters

Published 2:34 pm Friday, October 11, 2013

With temperatures beginning to fall into the 50s at night, the Greenville Fire Department is urging citizens to be careful and follow some simple safety tips when using space heaters, fireplaces and other supplemental heating sources.

“This is the time of year when the temperature begin to drop some at night and folks start using heaters again that we see more house fires,” Chief Chad Phillips said. “We really want to make sure that everyone exercises caution when using a portable heating device.”

Any shift away from the exclusive use of central heating presents an increased possibility for fire. Portable and stationary space heaters are involved in almost one-third of home heating fires, according to the National Fire Prevention Association.

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Phillips said that those choosing to use a space heater should keep in mind that space heaters need plenty of space.

“What we typically see is that people put a combustible material, like furniture, in front of one of these heaters, and when they kick on they catch the item on fire, and from there it can spread quickly,” Phillips said.

The Greenville Fire Department recommends the following safety tips when using supplemental heating sources:

  • Make sure you have a working smoke alarm.
  • Never leave children unattended in a room with a space heater. Children knock over space heaters especially if they are placed on top of wobbly tables or stools and near where the children play.
  • Keep all combustible materials, including yourself at least 3 feet from the heater
  • Open face heaters should have a screen
  • Turn off portable space heaters when leaving the room or house, or going to sleep.
  • Never use extension cords to power space heaters.