Red Cross Urges Winter Safety

Dec 29, 2017

With temperatures dipping well below freezing, many people are breaking out their wood or coal stoves, turning on space heaters or taking full advantage of their fireplaces to keep warm. 

Though there’s nothing wrong with using these methods to heat up your home, the Red Cross reminds us all that it needs to be done safely. 

Fixed and portable space heaters, including wood stoves are a leading cause of home fires, and are involved in 74% of fire-related deaths. 

Richard Dinsdale, Spokesperson for the American Red Cross of Nebraska, Kansas and Southwest Iowa, shares a few safety tips.

"Keep all sources of fuel like paper, clothing, bedding or rugs at least three feet away from space heaters, stoves or fireplaces.  These portable heaters should never be left unattended.  Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in your fireplace are extinguished before you go to bed or before you dash out of the house to do something.”

Dinsdale says if you have to use a portable heater, place it on a level, hard, nonflammable surface like a ceramic tile floor, not on rugs or near bedding or drapes. 

He says you should keep kids and animals away from space heaters.  And when purchasing a new one, look for one that will shut off automatically if the heater falls over. 

Dinsdale says it’s important to have smoke alarms inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.

For a complete list of tips, the website is