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January and February are the months most people die in Georgia from home fires. Space heaters are usually the cause since many people depend on them for economical home heating, but space heaters can be destructive and deadly. Remember these tips to avoid the dangers.

1.  Place your space heater in an isolated area.  John Oxendine, Georgia’s Insurance and Fire Safety Commissioner, advises you keep space heaters about 3 to 5 feet away from everything! Do not place space heaters near curtains, beds or on any furniture like coffee tables where they can ignite.

2. Space heaters are often used for long periods of time, so it’s a good idea to buy one with a three-prong wall plug to handle the juice.  Also TURN IT OFF before you leave home.

3. Look for the automatic turn-off feature.  If it tips over or overheats, it’s good to know the heater will turn itself off.

4. Don’t buy a space heater from a used dealer like a pawn shop.

5. Most fires start when you’re asleep, giving you seconds to get out. Get a smoke detector! There are good chances it’ll wake you and your family up in time to get out safely and survive in case of a fire.

6. Practice two escape plans with your family.  The kids always practice leaving their schools safely in fire drills, but space heater fires happen AT HOME.  Make sure your kids know at least two ways to escape safely.