Missourians are starting to turn the heat on and fire officials are reminding them to be safe when using space heaters.
Acting State Fire Marshal Greg Carrell says he hopes they will remember the messages of this, National Fire Prevention Week, long after it ends.
“We promote quite a lot during that time but the message fades. People need to remember that as we’re staying in this cooler weather and then even the cold weather we know will be coming the beginning of the year, space heater safety, fire safety, fire prevention needs to remain in their thoughts,” Carrell told Missourinet. “Even with the holidays coming up, fire safety is another big issue.”
One of the focuses during the week is safety when using space heaters. Last year seven people died in Missouri in five days in incidents connected to supplemental heating devices.
Carrell says space heaters should be kept away from just about everything.
“You put them close to something that burns and you have the potential for a fire,” said Carrell. “Keep everything – anything combustible, anything that will burn, three feet away from a space heater.”
That especially includes children and pets.
“You think about maybe a pet or a child knocking one of these over, but there’s also the potential they could fall onto a warm or hot surface and injure themselves, and we certainly don’t want that,” said Carrell.
He also says space heaters aren’t meant to be used with extension cords, most of which are not heavy enough to support the load heaters put on them.
“When you overload an extension cord, of course, that becomes another fire hazard.”
One of the themes this year for National Fire Prevention Week is an extra emphasis on having working smoke alarms in every bedroom.