Taking Action for You: Dangers of heating your home improperly

Expert advise to keep your family safe

As the temperatures dip, fire places, space heaters and other electric appliances will be in use.  

Before you do though, Pasco County Fire Rescue has some tips to keep you and your family safe.

Pasco County Fire Marshal, Donald Campbell, says first things first.  Never try to heat your home with your oven or kerosene space heaters.  Campbell says when using space heaters for the home, you also have to remember to never use extension cords for heating appliances.

"Space heaters draw a lot of power and by doing that they can actually overheat the cord itself," says Campbell.  "You end up with a fire not even near the space heater but involving the fact that you are pulling so much power through that cord."

Fire Marshal Campbell says people should also  make sure their space heater has the Underwriter Laboratory "UL" seal of approval.  Although its definitely an added badge of safety, its not mandated, so buyer beware.

Also, make sure your space heater has an automatic shutoff.  In the event it falls over or a pet knocks it over, it will automatically turn off.

Another good rule of thumb, look at how long the cord for the heater is.  That's how far away it should be from anything in the room.

Firefighters also encourage people to remember fireplace safety, especially in Florida where they aren't used often:

  • (1) Be sure to get your fireplace cleaned once a year by a chimney sweep.
  • (2) Before starting a fire in the fireplace, look up into the chimney making sure there are no birds or other animals that may be up there trying to get warm.
  • (3) Of course, never leave a fire unattended.
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