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Northwest Florida Cold Weather

As temperatures continue to drop, an area hardware store owner says space heaters are in big demand.

Space heaters are advertised outside the Chipley Ace Hardware Store whether they're electric, gas or kerosene. Retailers are having difficulty keeping them in stock. Residents are looking to stay warm during this blast of Artic weather.

Hardware store owner Seaborn Howell has just one heater left on the shelf, he says homeowners are also looking for pipe insulation. And other items to prevent freeze damage.

Several Northwest Florida residents say they're looking forward to spring. They hope this will mark the end of the really cold air for the season.

Experts do advise "extreme caution" for anyone using space heaters during severely cold weather.

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Space Heater Safety

  • All heaters are dangerous if not used properly. According to the National Fire Protection Association, most home-heating fires involve portable or "space" heaters; so electric heaters must be selected and used with care.

  • Choose models that have automatic safety switches that turn off the unit if it is tipped over accidentally.

  • Always look for a label or tag indicating the heater has been tested or approved by a recognized independent testing lab.

  • Never use the stovetop burners or your oven to heat a house or apartment.

  • Check the cord before plugging in the heater; if frayed, worn or broken, do not use it. Either have an electrician replace the cord or replace the heater. Simply putting tape on the cord is not enough to prevent overheating and fire.

  • Never use an extension cord with a portable heater.

  • Keep portable electric heaters away from sinks, tubs and other wet or damp places to avoid deadly electric shocks.

  • Keep an electric heater, or any portable heater for that matter, at least three feet away from curtains, newspapers or anything that might burn.

  • Never leave the heater unattended and never leave the house or go to bed without turning off the heater.

  • Do not hang items to dry above the heater.

  • Keep all heaters out of high traffic and exit areas.

Source: www.nfpa.org (National Fire Protection Agency Web site) contributed to this report.


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