Fire Prevention Week is a good time to look over all the different ways you can keep warm and make sure that those are safe.

“It gives us the opportunity to look at some of those systems in our home,” said Topeka Fire Marshal Mike Martin. “If we’re going to use our fireplace, we want to make sure that it’s been cleaned, if we want to use our furnace, to check it over. It’s the same with space heaters. We need to know how to use them, what’s appropriate and what we need to do to keep safe.”

Space heaters work differently than other methods of heating a room.

“The first thing we need to do, if we have a space heater is pull it out and take a look at it,” said Martin. “Make sure that the buttons and knobs all work correctly. Make sure the cord’s not frayed. We need to understand what space heaters were made for. They’re temporary heat. They are used to be able to heat up a room and then shut off. They’re not supposed to be used as a constant heat source.”

It’s important to know the consequences of using a space heater from an electrical standpoint.

“They pull a lot of juice when you plug them in,” said Martin. “You have to be careful. We don’t want to use extension cords. We want to plug them directly into the wall socket. We also want to make sure that the wall socket that we’re plugging it into isn’t on the same circuit as a large appliance, because we don’t want to draw that much power through there. We really have to be careful not only where we set it, but how we plug it in and where it’s going to be used.”

Always unplug and safely store a space heater when it is not in use.