As the weather gets colder, the heater may be on more often than not. As cozy as it makes us feel, we must be aware of certain risks when using various types of heaters. The Prince William Department of Fire and Rescue has some tips for people on how to prevent fires and keep safe this winter.

Deputy Fire Marshal Tom Jarman said that some of the things people can do to keep safe include using certified appliances and checking electrical components carefully when they come out of summer storage. United Laboratories, or UL, is a certifying agency that lists products as being safe if they’re used for their intended purposes. “One thing is to check the product itself to make sure that it is UL listed, or listed by a certification company, and that it’s used for that appropriate use. The other thing is to check that the wiring hasn’t chewed through, hasn’t been pinched or broken.”

Another important tip that a lot of people might not know about, Jarman said, is that cords should always remain uncovered, above carpets and blankets, and extension cords should be used with care.  “One of the other things we always recommend is to check the manufacturer’s paper work. A lot of those devices were meant to be plugged directly into a wall outlet. Unfortunately, a lot of people use extension cords with those devices, but because of the high-power they draw, that will actually create issues with the extension cord and cause extension cords to melt down and catch fire.”

Read More: Keep Safety in Mind as You Heat Your Home This Winter

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