Fire chief explains safety when dealing with space heaters

Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 10:05 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - As the cooler temperatures roll in, we turn up the thermostats and plug in the space heaters.

However, keeping warm can come at a cost if you’re not careful.

“These are commonly purchased from local department stores,” Houston River Fire Department Chief Dean Lappe said. “You can see these right here are not ready to use. They are full of dust, they’re dirty.”

Lappe said space heaters should be cleaned before being used. When plugging in your heater, make sure it’s plugged directly into a wall socket.

“They are to be plugged into a wall socket,” Lappe said. “One per socket, that is it. What happens is, they draw such high amperage that you can have an issue such as this.”

Power strips are not designed to take on as much voltage needed for space heaters. Lappe said to keep roughly 36 inches in space around them, and to make sure to purchase a heater with a thermostat so that if it gets covered up, it will shut off once it reaches a certain temperature.

“If you have pets, cats in the house like to get on them,” Lappe said. “Can’t blame them, it’s cold outside. They’ll knock them over. Make sure to get the newest heaters, that when they do get knocked over, it will shut it off.”

Chief Lappe said the common denominator for fires resulting for space heaters isn’t actually the heaters themselves.

“The issue is, their plugged into a multiple plug source, and then that’s where we get in trouble,” Lappe said. “That’s when the amperage is high, and they are not designed for that much amperage.”

Make sure to also have working smoke detectors installed.