With cold temperatures gracing the Ozarks and the cost of heating up your home on the rise, space heaters seem to be the easiest solution. However, they have become the origin of many house fires and unnecessary dangers. According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), heating equipment is a leading cause of fires in U.S. homes. Space heaters have resulted in 25,000 fires and over 300 deaths each year. Marshfield Fire Chief Michael Taylor, suggests that residents take in many precautions when heating up their homes.
“The key things are is to make sure that we're using them when someone's home, not leaving space heaters unattended. They also need to be plugged into an outlet, not an extension cord,” explained Taylor
Chief Taylor advises using newer or modern heaters that are equipped with a tip-over safety switch resulting in automatic shut down. This is especially important if animals are present in the home. Additionally, residents should keep combustibles such as clothing, papers or anything that can readily burn away from space heaters.
“Be careful not to overload load circuitry, especially the element style space heaters, but as well as others models pull in quite a large number of watts… And it's always a good idea to have carbon monoxide detectors. For any home that's using propane or any kind of fuel based heat, especially for using a vent-free type gas or fuel fired heater, we need to make sure that they have carbon monoxide detectors that are working.”
The Marshfield Fire Protection District encounter many fires related to heating equipment, but most specifically heat lamps.
“Heat lamps being utilized in barns and dog kennels count for a large number of our fires in the winter each year. Along with that comes loss of property, loss of livestock or pets,” added Taylor. “Animals can reach them, knock them down, or they they come in contact with combustibles.”
As winter weather lingers in Webster County, Chief Taylor encourages the public to contact the Marshfield Fire Protection District with and questions or concern when it comes to fire safety.
“We ask that everybody be careful. People have to become somewhat creative in order to stay warm, especially, if their furnace fails or if they don't have adequate heat in their home, but we just ask them to be very careful. If they have any questions about what they're doing is safe, not to hesitate to give us a call, and we'll be glad to talk to them. “
Contact the Marshfield Fire Protection District at 417-859-0884.
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