House fires happen frequently, but many of them could have been prevented. According to the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters cause one-third of home heating fires—81 percent are fatal.
Susan Holmes from American Red Cross said now is the time to be extra careful.
“They can be tipped over very easily. Things can get bumped up against them. But I think, the biggest concern I have is that people tend to plug them into extension cords,” said Holmes, Community Chapter Executive for the Wiregrass.
Extension cords cannot handle the power space heaters radiate. However, none of this matters without a working smoke detector. Some call them a “24/7 firefighter.”
“There are things you might sleep through. A smoke detector is not one of them,” said Holmes.
Fire officials said people should also be mindful when they are not home. Never leave the house with a heater turned on and keep it at least four feet away from flammable materials.
Robert Herring from the Dothan Fire Department said space heaters are not the only culprits. Mislabeled kerosene containers could cause a fatality.
“Accidentally, they may get kerosene in a real gas container, put it in the garage; they get mixed up,” said Herring, Life Safety Coordinator with DFD. “Then, they unfortunately put gasoline in a kerosene heater instead of kerosene, which initially will cause an explosion.”
For more fire prevention tips, visit redcross.org.