Fire officials recommend safety protocols for heating equipment this winter

SPOKANE, Wash. — As temperatures in the Inland Northwest continue to drop, fire officials say now is a good time to check your space heaters.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department has put out 16 fires involving heating equipment at home since 2020.

If your heating equipment is from garage sales or items passed down from family, you may want to check if they are in good shape.

“They don’t have safety checks sometimes, and they can be problematic. We are really encouraging people if they are going to use it safely. Make sure it’s operating correctly,” said Brett Anderson, Deputy Fire Marshal of the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Anderson says people should plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Don’t use an extension cord or power strip.

“The reason you have to do that is because it requires a lot of voltage,” Anderson said.

Anderson says to make sure to keep the space heater at least three to four feet from anything that can easily catch fire.

“If you have a towel or a blanket that you kept up here and somehow it got knocked down. It could be in direct contact with that glass that can actually catch on fire,” Anderson said.

Fire officials say chimney fires are one of the most common fires they deal with every winter.

“If it’s a wood stove or a pellet stove, it produces tar-like material inside the chimney. You should clean it annually, especially if you are using that for the main heat source,” Anderson said.

Firefighters also recommend you test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms once a month.

READ: Change your clocks, check your smoke alarms this weekend