KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — For many households across the U.S. and in East Tennessee, winter means breaking out the space heater. Without one, many families may feel the chill of 20-degree weather during the cold months.
However, the Knoxville Fire Department wants to remind people to stay safe while staying warm. They said around 1 in 7 home fires can involve heating equipment, and 1 in 5 deaths can involve heating equipment too.
To avoid issues with space heaters and similar equipment, fire officials said that people should make anything that could catch fire is at least 3 feet away from the equipment. That can include furniture, sheets and clothes.
They also said people should make sure not to plug space heaters into extension cords. Using an extension cord on a space heater creates the possibility for electrical issues since they demand so much electricity to run.
They should also always sit on a flat surface and stay still while they're on. Space heaters also should have their electrical cords secured — frayed cords can lead to electrical issues and possibly fires.
And finally, officials said people should be careful not to leave space heaters running when they go to bed.
Households that prefer to use fireplaces should make sure their chimneys are regularly inspected and that they dispose of ashes in a cool space, at least 10 feet away from the home.