According to the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters have caused 32 percent of home heating fires resulting in 79 percent of deaths.
When temperatures reach the lower digits, many people rely on portable heaters to keep the inside of their homes warm. That is why officials are warning the community on how to take precautions with a heater.
Lieutenant Pablo Herrera with the McAllen Fire Department tells Fox News you need to keep the heater at least a few feet away from anything that can catch on flames.
“We need to have 3 feet around the space heater from any combustibles so that it doesn’t catch fire. Also, the use of extension cords is not recommended it should just be connected into the outlet.”
The lieutenant adds that if homeowners have a central air system it is recommended to clean it out before turning the heater on.
“If you have an AC system you need to have the coils serviced by a technician because if you turn it on for the first time and you have not had it cleaned there is a potential fire hazard.”
The fire official encourages residents to not use open flame types of heaters inside their homes.
“There are some gas propane heaters out there that are not for inside use but if you get an electrical heater like this one right here, make sure you get a heater that has an anti-trip device that if you accidentally knock it down your heater should turn off.”
According to statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, portable electric heaters have caused 1,100 fires per year resulting in 50 deaths and dozens of injuries.
Officials want to remind the community to take extra precautionary measures when using space heaters at home to avoid a fire and never use an extension cord or power strip.