Houston fire officials urge caution with space heaters

With temperatures dropping as winter approaches, the Houston Fire Department is urging citizens to be careful when using space heaters. The department says supplemental heating devices cause more than 100 fires in the city each year, and citizens should always remember that "space heaters need space."

Fire officials offered the following safety tips:

  • Make sure you have a working smoke alarm.
  • Never leave children unattended in a room with a space heater - Children can knock over space heaters and may stick paper or toys through grates.
  • Keep all combustible materials at least three feet from a heater.
  • Open-face heaters should have screens.
  • Provide ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • If an electric heater's cord is hot to the touch, turn off the heater and unplug it. 
  • Never use extension cords. 

As for standard central heating units, floor furnaces, recessed wall heaters, and vented space heaters, they should be inspected annually by a qualified service technician. Electric heaters permanently installed in the wall or ceiling should have lint and dust removed regularly.

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