Important Safety Tips for Space Heaters Amid Cold Temperatures

BECKLEY, W.Va (WVNS) -- Winter 2017 marks number 24 for Lowe's customer service associate Patricia Edwards, who has been helping Beckley customers pick the right choice for a space heater to keep their homes toasty. Indeed, the cold has kept them coming.

"Our sales are through the roof at this time," Edwards said. "We're doing quite well."

With freezing temperatures in the forecast, vendors and firefighters together are encouraging any resident to pick a space heater that not only fits their needs, but also keeps them out of danger.

Beckley Fire Department Captain Joe Coughlin says it pays to follow the safety manual of any space heater chosen. For electrical space heaters in particular, make sure the product is listed safe by safety organization Underwriters Laboratories among other agencies.
Capt. Joe Coughlin, Beckley Fire Department:
"(It is) UL listed and good working order," Coughlin said. "You bought it. They didn't just piece-mill it together. The wiring is in good shape."

As for those using a gas, propane, or kerosene heater, buying and installing carbon monoxide detectors are crucial. But do not install them where you cook your food.

"You burn something on the stove, it activates them," Coughlin said. "People take the batteries out of them and don't put it back, so typically we don't put devices like that in kitchens."

Coughlin also says using a conventional oven as a source of heat can be dangeorus.

"If it's a gas oven, you're running the risk of carbon monoxide and other gases released in that," Coughlin said. "You'd be surprised what people will do. We've gone to houses where they had the oven's on and the oven door cracked. People will invent ways for auxillary heat."

No matter how you're bracing for the cold, the cornerstone of staying warm is staying safe.

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