Fire expert reviews winter heat safety tips

Make sure your heater, new or old, carries the UL label. (Source: WAFF)
Make sure your heater, new or old, carries the UL label. (Source: WAFF)

FALKVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Heating our homes on the cold days and nights may take priority, but only after some preventive measures are addressed to avoid fires.

Steve Shelton is the recruitment and retention officer for the Falkville Fire Department.

"Probably the most important thing is to make sure the wiring on a space heater is in good condition; that the plugs are in good condition; that there is no frayed wiring, no bent plugs," Shelton said.

Shelton also advises you to ensure that the outlet you are trying to plug into is capable of handling the wattage that the heater is to provide.

"It's mainly for additional heat -it's not for the primary heat source in your home," he added. "A lot of people like to carry those to the bedroom with them at night when they go to bed. Just make sure that you don't get it too close."

He said three feet is a good distance. And for a fuel-based heater, he said the source is critical. Don't put gasoline in a heater meant for kerosene, for instance, because of the difference in combustible temperatures.

Shelton also said you should keep a window cracked to keep carbon monoxide at bay. "It is recommended that you have both a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide that is working and operable," he said.

When it comes to fireplaces, whether it's gas burning or wood burning, Shelton said there are still some precautionary measures you need to take.

"Just make sure that you use a certified chimney sweep. I would have it checked by a licensed, certified person," he said.

He added that buildup in the chimney is a common source of fire.

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