Give space heaters some space

Half of all home fires in the country occur in December, January and February, and out of those fires, one in five is caused by a home heating element, including space heaters.

As much as everyone loves them for keeping warm on cold nights, these heating devices have some pretty scary statistics when not used properly.

Half of all home heating deaths in the U.S. happen because these types of elements are placed too close to things that can easily burn, such as furniture, clothing, and bedding, or just simply from being left on for long periods of time.

According to Horry County Fire Rescue Lieutenant Andrew Miller, there are many different types of space heaters that range from electric, quartz, infrared, gas and kerosene.

He said electric ones are one of the more popular types, as well as one of the more user-friendly ones.

"Some of the features of the electrical ones is that they have an automatic shutoff. Anything over a certain amount of time frame, and then an automatic feature of them too is that if they tip over, they automatically shut off. That is a great recommendation for anyone purchasing an electric space heater," Miller said.

If you're using anything other than electric, Miller said to make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector installed.

Also remember to plug your space heater directly into the wall and make sure it is the only item plugged into that outlet.

And before you even purchase your space heater, there's an important label you should look for.

"We do recommend that you take a look and see that there's a label that is from a laboratory testing facility so that way you know you're getting a proven product," Miller.

If you still have any questions about what type of space heater or purchase or just want to make sure you're using it correctly, the Horry County Fire Department will help you free of charge.

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