With many people pulling out heaters to stay warm during the colder weather, the Torrance Fire Department has some tips to avoid dangerous situations.

Senior Fire Inspector Richard Fick says while space heaters may be an effective way to heat a small area inside your home, they also have the potential of starting a fire. He offers the following suggestions:

  • Make sure the heater is designed to be used for inside a home.
  • Read the heater’s instructions and labels before purchase.
  • Buy a space heater that has over-heat protection and can’t be tipped over.
  • When plugging in a heater, make sure it’s not being plugged into an extension cord or power strip.
  • Never place a heater near water or leave it on while sleeping.
  • When a heater is on, make sure it is 3 feet away from combustible materials.
  • Double check that your smoke alarm is working and that you own a carbon monoxide alarm. Carbon Monoxide is a poisonous gas that has no smell, taste, or odor.

Fick says the most common thing people overlook is common sense.

The National Fire Protection Association says that in 2011, there were more than 53,000 home structure fires related to heating equipment.