(KMOV.com) – It may be difficult to get warm sometimes, and fire officials say alternative heating sources, such as Space Heaters, or in one case, an electric hot plate, are the major causes of deadly fires this time of year.
“You hear of somebody’s death every day,” said Florissant Valley Fire Marshall Steve Gettemeier. “Literally every day.” He says tragic deaths, like those in University City or the injuries in north St. Louis, can be prevented.
Gettemeier says if you plan to use a Space Heater, it’s important to use it properly. The biggest mistake people make is plugging them into an extension cord which you shouldn’t do.
“I think what most people don’t realize is you can’t plug them into an extension cord,” Gettemeier said. “They have to be plugged directly into an outlet.”
When these fires start, often it is the extension cord that catches fire first since the cords are not designed to handle that much power. The heaters come with built-in protection such as tip-over and thermostat control, and an auto shut-off function that will turn it off if it gets too hot.
“If you follow the directions that come with it, you won’t have too many problems,” Gettemeier said. “If you’re going to supplement heating with a Space Heater, do it according to the manufacturer's recommendations.”
Fire officials also say they have information on how to obtain free smoke detectors if your home does not have one.