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Safety Council, firefighters, retailers stress space heater safety

Local firefighters along with the St. Joseph Safety Council and household retailers share tips on space heater safety.

Posted: Feb 6, 2020 7:47 PM
Updated: Feb 13, 2020 7:22 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Space heaters for many are common wintertime household items, and they come with fire dangers if not used properly.

Firefighters who frequently respond to house fires caused by space heaters said it’s important to operate space heaters safely, they recommend users make sure about 25-30 inches of space is clear for them.

In addition, safety experts warn plugging them into the wrong types of outlets can also present a fire risk.

Staff members at the St. Joseph Safety Council warn users about using extension cords and/or multi plugs, they said the devices are not meant to handle the energy produced by space heaters and block breaker shut off features that prevent overheating. 

Firefighters, as well as those who sell space heaters, said having one that’s up to date can also help, many come with safety features that can make all the difference

Staff at Westlake Ace Hardware said most in-demand space heaters come equipped with an auto shut off if they tip over, they recommend spending those extra bucks on a unit that heats well and comes with safety features.

"If it’s cheap then its probably not very efficient," Greg Eagleburger, general manager said. "The higher demand ones even have a safety device built into the cords."

If a space heater is showing signs of wear and tear, retailers say its best to play if safe.

"if something about the heater looks amiss, I’d go ahead and replace it," Eagleburger said. 

The Safety Council also recommends having working smoke detectors in every room of your home for an added layer of protection.

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Clouds will continue to move into the area tonight with a slight chance for an isolated shower. Tomorrow we will see a few scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms move through the area, mainly through the morning and afternoon hours. Temperatures will warm into the upper 60s and lower 70s. Rain chances are set to continue on Sunday with temperatures back in the 60s. Rain chances will linger into next week. The rain will be on the lighter side Monday into Tuesday. Ran showers will increase with the possibility for a few thunderstorms Wednesday into Thursday. Temperatures will continue warm into next week with highs in the mid to upper 70s.
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