Valley experts give tips on how to use space heaters safely

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Many families will be using space heaters to stay warm over the next few days, but fire officials want to remind residents how to safely use a space heater.

Fire officials say that a third of all house fires are caused by space heaters.

The Edinburg Fire Department says during the month of January, they see the highest cases of house fires.

As practical as space heaters are, they can also pose a deadly threat.

Experts say you should always keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can catch on fire.

When shopping for a space heater, make sure to check for a tip-over protection.

"So you want to make sure to keep it away from your curtains, your blankets, your pillows, clothing, anything that can be combustible," Edinburg Fire Department Lt. Adrian Cisneros said. "One of the things that you can keep in mind is that now, a new technology has come around called tip-over protection and an automatic shut off. So you want to make sure when you pick up a space heater that that should be on the box on the label. Does it have tip-over protection? Is this thing going to turn off in case of a fall or in case of accidental tip over?"

Experts also recommend the following tips:

- Make sure that your space heater is clear of any dust or debris that can spark a fire.

- Keep them away from kids and pets to avoid burns and/or other injuries.

- Never place them on top of table or chair, always place on the floor.

- Space heaters should be connected to an outlet when in use; extension cords can cause a fire.

- Make sure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are installed and working.

- Turn off space heaters before going to bed or leaving your home.

People without central heat may be tempted to use stoves or ovens to heat their homes, but doing that could be deadly.

Both can emit carbon monoxide, an odorless and deadly gas.

If you use a generator, make sure it's 20 feet away from any doors or windows inside the home. 

In case of any type of fire emergency, make sure you call 911.


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