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Oshkosh Fire Department gives safety tips after space heater related fires

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Posted at 5:39 PM, Jan 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-13 19:23:30-05

OSHKOSH (NBC 26) — Following several space heater related fires in Northeast Wisconsin and other parts of the country, the Oshkosh Fire Department has tips to ensure people warm up safely.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates portable and stationary heaters are involved in an average of 6,800 fires every year.

John Holland, Oshkosh Fire Department public information officer, said they respond to "at least a couple" space heater related fires a year.

"What we always say is, 'give space heaters space,'" Holland said. "Give at least 3 feet between the space heater and anything that can burn."

It's also important to plug space heaters directly into the wall to keep the cord from overheating. The machine should be at least three feet from the wall.

"You definitely want to keep them on the floor. You don't want to put them on a shelf, because they can obviously tip over," Holland said.

There are a variety of models, some of which can be more dangerous. That's because older models don't have an anti-tip over feature, which turns the space heater off if it gets knocked over.

On fire inspections, Holland said crews check that public buildings have newer models with the anti-tip feature.

"The new models have a little switch on the bottom. So if this gets tipped over, it switches off automatically," Holland said.

Evens so, Holland said it's best to unplug the space heater when going to bed or leaving the house.