Firefighters warn of heating dangers

As temperatures drop into the 20s and 30s in Central Florida, firefighters warn of the dangers that can come with heating your home.

"December, January, February are definitely our biggest months of heating fires," said Orlando Fire Department District Chief David Haley.

The winter months typically bring an increase in heating-related emergency calls, but when the temperatures drop to near freezing that number can spike even more.  Haley said many of the calls come from the use of space heaters.

"Very volatile and things happen unfortunately with space heaters," said Haley.

According to firefighters, space heaters are responsible for nearly 80 percent of accidental fire deaths.  That's something Haley said can easily be prevented with proper use.

"Keep a safety zone around the perimeter.  I would say 3 feet from people being able to knock them over," said Haley.  "Keeping them away from combustibles.  Keeping them away from your upholstered furniture.  Don't dry your clothes on them.  You know, things that are common sense."

While firefighters illustrated the dangers of space heaters, they also said permanent heaters can pose a risk if not properly cleaned and maintained.

"It should be cleaned on an annual basis.  I know we don't use it much here, but it's still the right thing to do," said Haley.

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