Fire officials warn of space heater dangers

Public safety officials are warning about the dangers of space heaters and other forms of emergency heating.

Columbus Fire Department is passing along recommendations from the U.S. Fire Administration, saying that half of all home heating fires occur in December, January and February. They say that you should plug only one heat-producing appliance into an electrical outlet at a time and you should never use an extension cord or power strip with a space heater, instead plug it directly into the wall outlet. Space heaters should be at least three feet away from anything combustible.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning of a higher potential for carbon monoxide poisoning during extreme winter weather. With high winds and ice increasing the possibility for power outages, some homeowners may turn to gasoline or diesel generators in order to use heaters and other appliances. Commission officials say generators should never be used indoors and should be placed at least 20 feet away from homes, with the exhaust faced away from the structure. They also warn against burning charcoal indoors.