Red Cross stresses home heating safety

As temperatures fall, the American Red Cross is warning of an increase in home fires and urges people to be cautious while heating their homes.

A 2020 Red Cross survey showed that more than half of people have used a space heater — which is involved in most fatal home heating fires.

How to Heat Your Home Safely:

If a space heater must be used, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface, such as a ceramic tile floor. Don’t place it on rugs and carpets, or near bedding and drapes; keep away children and pets.

Plug space heater power cords directly into outlets — never into an extension cord. Turn it off every time you leave the room or go to sleep.

Never use a cooking range or oven to heat a home.

Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Use a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace.

Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces and chimneys inspected annually by a professional and cleaned if necessary.

Test smoke alarms monthly and practicing home fire escape plans until everyone can escape in two minutes or less. For free home fire safety resources, visit