Exercise caution when using space heaters

Exercise caution when using space heaters

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ATLANTA -

Friday is the official start of winter, and fire officials have a warning for Georgia households. So far this year, there have been 341 fires in the state due to home heating and they don't want that number to increase.

The bodies of two women living in a southwest Atlanta home were found near a space heater in a house fire in 2010. According to state Fire Marshall Dwayne Garriss, when the weather gets cold, fires from space heaters could increase.

"We've been lucky because we have reduced the number of fire deaths by half almost since last year, but we've also had a mild winter this past year so far," said Garriss

Henry County Fire Chief Bill Lacy says give space heaters space.

"You need to place the heater at least three feet from any combustible surfaces at all times. And when you go to bed at night, you need to turn the heater off," advised Lacy.

Lacy says never leave a heater unattended, and for heaters that use a petroleum-based fuel, make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector. For electric heaters, don't overload the power supply.

According to Lacy, plugging in too many devices can use too much electricity or amperage, damaging the wiring in the house.

That's the fear when you use a space heater at the office also. Although Chief Lacy doesn't recommend using them in such a small space, he says if you have to, newer is better.

"Some of the newer devices have some safety features in them, have circuit breakers in them, they don't overheat. If they tip, they turn off automatically. Whereas older space heaters didn't have those devices in them," said Lacy.

Fire officials say never refuel your space heater inside your home, and make sure your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors have working batteries. For safety tips, click here!

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