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Space heaters common cause of several recent fires, officials give safety tips

With the below zero weather, everyone is trying to stay warm.

Posted: Jan 4, 2018 4:13 PM
Updated: Jan 4, 2018 6:40 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - With the below zero weather, everyone is trying to stay warm. 

It can become a recipe for disaster with space heaters and no smoke detectors.

Terre Haute first responders are giving their best advice on how to prevent fires.

The main focus this season is space heaters.

Leaders say space heaters have been the cause of many recent fires.

"Keep all heaters and heating elements at least three feet away form anything that will burn. Not just paper, but couches, chairs, clothing..," said Norm Loudermilk, Terre Haute arson investigator.

They also say to make sure heaters are shut off before falling asleep or leaving the house.

There's also one critical device you need.

"Smoke detectors are the ones that will save lives. They absolutely save lives, there's no question about it," said Loudermilk.

Loudermilk says if you don't have a smoke detector in your home, the Terre Haute fire department will give you one for free.

They will also install it for you at no cost. All to help save lives in our community.

"That's the best line of defense you really have," said David Palmer, Terre Haute firefighter.

It's also important to have an evacuation plan in case of any type of emergency. That way your family will know how to escape during a bad situation.

"You will be able to get out of your house as quickly as you can, and practicing those types of things to know, 'hey if there's a fire here how am I going to get out?," said Loudermilk.

Fire officials want you to know there are many ways to protect your family.

Other tips include:
               - Service heat sources every year.
               - Sweep chimney's each year, especially if burning wood to heat your home.
               - Change the filter in your furnace often
               - Change the batteries in all smoke detectors in the spring and fall
               - Don't overload circuits or power strip.

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