Roanoke firefighters share space heater safety tips to keep homes toasty, prevent house fires

Local News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — As long as it stays chilly outside, residents tend to keep it warm and toasty inside. However, keep a few safety tips in mind when you plug in those portable space heaters.

On Friday, Feb. 21, the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department shared a tweet from Sparky the Fire Dog — the offical mascot of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) — featuring a link for safety tips for electric portable space heaters, which are reportedly involved in 40 percent of space heater fire fatalities.

Electric space heaters come in several forms, according to the NFPA. The four types include oil or water-filled radiators where heated oil or water travel through the heater; fan-forced heaters, which involve a fan blowing warm air over metal coils; ceramic heaters that warm air over ceramic heating elements; and infrared heaters that create heat with infrared bulbs.

If you plan to use any of these portable electric space heaters, please follow this safety checklist from the NFPA:

  • Purchase a heater that has a thermostat, protection against overheating, and the seal of a qualified testing laboratory.
  • Make sure your heater will automatically shut off if it tips over.
  • Plug the heater directly into the wall outlet rather than an extension cord.
  • Place the heater on a flat and solid surface that won’t block any exits or foot traffic.
  • Keep the heater at least three feet away from people — especially children — or anything else that can burn.
  • Turn off and unplug the heater when you leave the room or go to bed.


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