Here are a few safety tips for using heaters in cooler weather

i kwan / Flickr, CC 2.0

With temperatures starting to dip across the state, the American Red Cross in Arkansas today issued a reminder to use caution when heating homes with space heaters and other sources.

Officials said heating sources are the leading cause of winter fires, and increase during the fall through February.

Last year the Northwest Arkansas Chapter of the American Red Cross Disaster Responders were sent to more than 150 home fires across the northwest region.

The American Red Cross offers the following fire prevention tips:

  • Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys inspected annually by a professional to check for damage or to clean and service if necessary.
  • All fire sources, heaters, fireplaces, space heaters, need clear space. Keep all things that can burn (paper, matches, bedding, furniture, clothing, carpets, and rugs) at least three feet away from heating equipment.
  • Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Use a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace.
  • Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
  • Turn off portable space heaters every time you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs, carpets or near bedding or drapes. Plug power cords directly into outlets; never into an extension cord.

For more Red Cross fire safety and preparedness information, visit