QUINCY, IL (WGEM) - As the weather gets colder, local fire officials want to remind residents to be careful when using space heaters.
Tri-Township Fire Chief said they see heaters cause house fires every year.
Many of those fires are caused by the heater being forgotten about or left on for too long.
“People get a little bit careless with them, leave them plugged in longer than they should be, maybe overnight, or they kick them over. They place them under their desks pretty often and that can cause some issues for them," Tom Bentley, Tri-Township fire chief.
Space heaters can easily catch on fire if it is knocked over, so they should never be placed under desks or left alone with kids or pets.
There is also a danger of the outlet getting overloaded.
“Certainly don’t plug them into anything other than the wall outlet. It’s tempting for people to use an extension cord or a strip plug to plug that into and many times that overloads it and that become what the problem actually is," said Bentley.
Another common cause of house fires in the fall and winter is people using their fireplace without cleaning it out or checking for debris first.
Bentley says it’s also important to be able to catch a fire before and after it starts.
It’s important to have your smoke detector checked every year.
The Tri-Township Fire Department and other fire departments in the area are part of a program through the Red Cross that will install up to three smoke detectors in your home for free if you don’t have them.
To access that service, you can call the Tri-Township fire department at 217-222-2142.