Fire officials urge safe use of space heaters

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With the temperatures cooling, more people will turn to space heaters to stay warm. And the Wichita Fire Department is reminding people to use them safely. 

"Safety is always should be number one consideration, especially when you have visitors and company come visit," said Lt. Jose Ocadiz. "Make sure you still have working smoke alarms." 

But even before a fire starts, there are ways to prevent it. 

"There are some things that are not preventable, but incidents like these, these are always preventable," Lt. Ocadiz said. 

Firefighters always advise people to plug in large appliances directly to the wall. They also recommend that for space heaters.

Electrical malfunction was blamed for a house fire on North Arkansas earlier this month. Several extension cords were plugged together.

Another fire on South Market late last month was caused by plugging a portable heater to extension cords. 

"Piggybacking and daisy-chaining is never recommended. Always make sure that you use appropriate extension cords -- from indoor and outdoor extension cords -- appropriately."

Electrical malfunctioning has been blamed for 24 fires this year and 34 last year. Firefighters hope everyone will use their appliances appropriately. 

Ocadiz said, "...a safe, merry Christmas and to enjoy family and friends during this holiday season and to stay warm with the cold weather coming." 

Firefighters also recommended keeping flammable objects at least three feet away from space heaters.

Fires caused by electrical malfunctioning or equipment failures in Wichita

2017 (1/1-12/19) 24
2016 34
2015 39

Fire related deaths in Wichita

2017 (1/1-12/19) 6
2016 5
2015 3

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