Topeka Fire Department issues warnings about space heaters as temperatures drop

Local News

TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Topeka Fire Department is warning Topeka residents to be careful when using space heaters as temperatures dip below freezing.

In a video put on the TFD’s Facebook page, Public Education Officer Alan Stahl and Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office Public Relations Deputy Abigail Christian walked through various safety tips that people should follow to avoid a deadly fire such as the one that occurred in the Bronx in New York City that claimed 17 lives, including that of a 2-year-old boy. The deadly blaze was caused by a space heater.

“Heating equipment is the second leading cause of fire in the United States,” Christian said.

  • Central heaters and most space heaters will not work without electricity. Never modify heating appliances to work without electricity.
  • Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when leaving the room or going to sleep.
  • Don’t let your pets or children play too close to a space heater.
  • Space heaters are meant to provide supplemental heat. They should not be used to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing or thaw pipes.
  • Space heaters must be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn.
  • Plug space heaters directly into wall outlets. Do not use extension cords or power strips as they may overheat or cause a power short. Do not plug anything else into the same outlet as the space heater.
  • Place space heaters on flat, even surfaces. Never place space heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture or carpet as they could overheat and start a fire.
  • Always unplug and safely store the space heater when it is not in use.
  • Do not use gas powered heaters meant for outdoors inside of your house. These heaters are not intended for inside use and may produce high levels of carbon monoxide or start fires in ways a normal space heater would not.
  • Install smoke detectors on every floor of your home and outside of all sleeping areas, testing them once per month.
  • If you have a sudden onset of dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain or confusion, you may be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. Dial 911 and exit your home if you are experiencing these symptoms.

“On behalf of the Topeka Fire Department and the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office, we hope all our citizens stay safe and stay warm,” Stahl said.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories