How to heat up your home while avoiding fire hazards

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JACKSON, Miss (WJTV) – Much of Mississippi is under a freeze warning so it’s time to power up the heaters.

But as temperatures go down the risk of fires go up so firefighters want to make sure you know how to safely heat your home.

You can really start to feel how cold it is out here I’m seeing my own breath more and more. It’s brought many people to this department store to get heaters however these machines can be fire hazards if not used responsibly.

So far in 2019, Mississippi has seen 52 fire-related deaths, 15 of which caused by space heaters sparking flammable objects.

“The months of December, January, and February, because it’s colder we do have a slight rise in calls,” Jackson Division Fire Chief Cleotha Sanders said. “A lot of these fires are attributed to people trying to stay warm in some kind of way.”

So before you plug in any kind of space heater or light your fireplace make sure the space around it is clear.

“Make sure that you have a three-foot clearance around your space heater,” Division Chief Sanders explained. “That way something won’t easily or inadvertently catch fire. Always follow the manufactures warning and directions as it pertains to how to use the equipment.”

“The small heaters I set it up on something that’s non-flammable because they can fall,” Jackson homeowner James Daniels said. “You know from everything like that and keep them away from kids.”

Firefighters have also seen electrical fires spark up when these heaters are plugged in extension cords and in time overheat causing a short circuit.

“If you’re going to use some type of extension cord you want to make sure you use an extension cord that’s approved by a laboratory.” Division Chief Sanders said. “Or that’s gone through laboratory testing.”

“Making sure that it’s out of the way of the curtains and anything flammable and all those sorts of things,” Jackson Homeowner Liz Martin “I don’t think they’re safe. I really don’t.”

Under no circumstances is it ok to attempt to heat your home with the oven or stove, as this can also lead to fires plus make your family sick.

Another woman I spoke to out here told me she never buys space heaters because to her they’re all too dangerous. For the full lesson on fire safety with heaters, you can contact the fire marshals office at 601-359-3569.

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