The American Red Cross urges families to be cautious when using space heaters and other heating sources and to make a plan in case there is a home fire.
Heating sources are the leading cause of winter fires and increase during the months of December, January and February.
Space heaters, fireplaces or wood and coal stoves can pose a fire hazard so the Red Cross recommends keeping anything that can burn such as paper, bedding or furniture at least 3 feet away and to never leave these unattended.
Other fire-prevention tips include:
• Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended.
• Use a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace.
• Never use a cooking range or oven to heat the home.
• Turn off portable space heaters every time you leave the room or go to sleep.
• Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces and chimneys inspected annually by a professional and cleaned if necessary.
• If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface, not on rugs or carpets or near bedding. Plug power cords directly into outlets and never into an extension cord.