The National Fire Protection Association says space heaters are blamed for 80 percent of home heating-related fire deaths each year nationwide and they cause one-third of those fires.

During these dangerously cold temperatures especially, State Fire Marshal Tim Bean says Missourians should not use space heaters as a primary heating source.

“With the temperatures fixing to drop here in the forecasts, individuals may be prone to bring out a space heater and use it for a supplemental heat source,” he says. “In that capacity, it’s good. But, what happens is they extend it and use it in a capacity it’s not designed to do.”

Bean suggests finding community support services available that help to pay for heating costs. He also says staying with family, friends or at a shelter where there’s adequate heat is a good alternative to using a space heater.

Bean says keep your pets away from space heaters so they don’t accidently knock over the heating sources or sleep near them. He recommends leaving at least three feet of space between the heater and flammable items.

Bean says the heating source should not be left unattended. Power strips or extension cords should not be used with space heaters.

The cold weather is a good reminder to check your smoke detectors. If you do not have a working one, call your local fire department or the Missouri Fire Marshal’s office.

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