Proper ways to use space heaters safely


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With temperatures expected to drop below freezing for a second night, many people will use space heaters to keep warm. It's important to be careful about fire hazards and understand how to properly use them.

While these heaters are great for keeping warm, it's important to be careful about fire hazards and understand how to properly use them.

"It's very important to stay warm, but you've gotta do it safely so you can wake up in the morning," said Randy Wyse, President of the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters.

If you plan on using a space heater, be sure to give it some space. Nothing flammable should be within 3 feet of it, including furniture, curtains and especially blankets.

Wyse says make sure the space heater is cool to the touch before refueling and to do so in a well-ventilated area.

"Make sure you take it outside and fill it," said Wyse. "So if you spill anything, you don't have a flammable inside the house."

In addition, Wyse said to use the manufacturer's recommended fuel, and never gasoline.

Firefighters say chimneys can be a huge problem this time of year. It's important to make sure they are inspected before using them.

"Make sure if you're burning a fire in your fireplace, that you have a screen up for protection in case, because as the wood burns, it will shift and make sure it doesn't roll out onto the carpet or any sort of flammable material," said Wyse.

Finally, when you put the fire out, Wyse says to not put hot coals in the garbage can outside.

"We've had several times where people have put charcoal on burning embers in a trash can," said Wyse. "A lot of times, people keep their trash cans close to the house right up the ease, attic fire. They could be sleeping in their bed and not even know their house is on fire."