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Reno fire chief warns residents to use space heaters safely



reno-logo-9848631-9978812With the sudden drop in temperatures, many residents are purchasing space heaters to help to keep themselves warm. These portable appliances have the potential to ignite nearby combustible materials like curtains, beds, sofas, paper, clothing and flammable liquids.

If ignition results from a heater left on and unattended, a major fire could result. Reno Fire Chief Michael Hernandez says, “We want our residents to be safe when using alternative heating sources.”

It is important to follow these safety tips regarding portable heaters:

* When buying a heater, look for one that has been tested and labeled by a nationally recognized testing company, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL).
* Keep the heater three feet away from drapes, furniture or other combustible materials.
* Place the heater on a level surface away from areas where someone might bump into it and knock it over.
* Avoid using extension cords. If you must use an extension cord, make sure it is a heavy duty cord marked with a power rating at least as high as that on the label of the heater itself.
* Space heaters are for temporary use only. Never leave a space heater unattended or running while you sleep.
* Supervise children and pets when a space heater is in use.
* Keep electric heaters away from water. Never use them near a sink or in the bathroom.
* Have a working smoke alarm.

The Reno Fire Department has a limited number of free smoke alarms available. Residents can contact the Department at 775-334-2300 to apply for the free alarm.

For more information about the safe use of fireplaces or other alternatives heating devices, go to www.NFPA.org.

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