Duval County

Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department gives space heater safety guidelines as temperatures drop

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The cold temperatures are here and if you are trying to stay warm, be careful where you plug in space heaters.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fire deaths.

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Data between 2016 and 2020 shows space heaters were the type of heating equipment responsible for the largest shares of losses in home heating equipment fires, accounting for one-third of the fires.

While space heaters are a common cause of fire, the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department said the biggest problem they see is people overloading extension cords.

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“They’ve got these monstrosities of five different things plugged into one extension cord and it’s just too much for it to handle, they are causing a fire,” JFRD Captain Eric Prosswimmer said.

Prosswimmer said if you use a space heater, you should check its condition, the age of it, and know what it’s designed to do.

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“Try to plug it into an outlet that is designed for that device, get your electricity checked. If you have an old system, make sure that it’s capable of handling what you are about to put into it,” Prosswimmer said.

And the location of the space heater is something that should be top of mind.

“So, you want to make sure that you have a clear space, you want to make sure it’s on solid ground, so it can’t tip over or get knocked down by a pet, a child or something like that,” Prosswimmer said.

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