Roanoke County has tips on preventing house fires in winter

As winter draws near we start to find more than one source to heat our home and when not used correctly can pose a big fire risk.
Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 5:29 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - During the months of December, January and February, structure fires become more common and a lot of that is due to home heating.

“When we say home heating, probably most of what we find are those auxiliary forms of heat, so things like space heaters, fireplaces, wood stoves, kerosene heaters,” said Brian Clingenpeel, Community Outreach Coordinator for Roanoke County Fire and Rescue. “Those kind of extra things. You always want to plug a space heater directly into a wall. You never want to plug it into an extension cord because the space heater typically draws a lot of current and the extension cord can’t handle that. We also see people do that and then put a rug over the extension cord so I don’t trip over it, but when you walk back and forth over that wire, you’re breaking down that wire, and then that can cause an electrical fire.”

Along with not putting the rug over the extension cord, you want to make sure your heat sources are a good distance away from other objects in the room. A little trick that you can do is something called ‘three feet from the heat’.

Keep heat sources at least 3 feet away from any object in the room.
Keep heat sources at least 3 feet away from any object in the room.(WDBJ7)

“So you have to keep anything that can burn at least three feet from the heat and that’s a little farther than I think most people realize, so I recommend people to really measure that out and get a visual for how far three feet is away from your space heater or your wood stove, or something like that. So this just gives you an idea of three feet from the heat. So if we put three of these together. That’s three feet. So think about that when thinking of what needs to be away from those auxiliary heating devices. And it needs to be that far away. "

Clingenpeel goes on to mention other safety tips with plugging in those auxiliary heat sources.

“Those little brown, we call them zip cords, that you can get from big box stores that are sometimes less than a dollar. They’re okay for temporary use if you’re just going to use it briefly to make something reach, then that’s great. It’s not meant to be used as permanent wiring.”