MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Heading into the second half of this bitter cold week, firefighters want you to be warm inside your home but also stress you need to take all the right steps to protect not just your house but also your family.
While they make look small and safe, space heaters can cause a lot of problems. They are one of the leading causes of home heating fires across the country.
The National Fire Protection Association reports space heaters are to blame for about 80 percent of home heating fire deaths every year.
Lt. Christian Sliker with Myrtle Beach Fire said there is nothing wrong with using a space heater, you just have to be safe when it is turned on.
It is recommended you keep them away from kids, only plug one heater into an outlet at a time, and try to keep anything that can burn a good distance away from the heater.
"There was a fire last week and it was from a space heater," said Lt. Sliker. "What had happened was the heater lit a picture on fire that fell on top of it," he added.
Firefighters also remind you to never go to bed or leave a room with the space heater still on. Another tip, while it may be obvious that it is not safe, is to never use an oven as a way to heat your home.
While home heating fires are directly related to the weather and temperatures, other problems are indirectly linked to the cold.
"It's really big for infectious diseases in the winter not because it's cold but because you go inside," said Dr. Jon Pangia from Grand Strand Medical Center. "You're around other people, you sneeze, and you cough using your hands not your elbow."?