(Nixa, Mo.--12/07/17) With the official winter season right around the corner, space heaters may be be essential to stay warm.
FOX5 spoke to experts who say if used incorrectly, those heaters could be putting you and your family at risk.
With temperatures dipping big time, Nixa Fire Department officials are urging people to take extra safety safety precautions when using space heaters.
Whitney Weaver. Assistant Fire Chief, Nixa Protection District tells FOX5," Just take a few minutes to make sure the appliance is safe, it’s clear to combustibles, its plugged in correctly to the wall, and not through extension cords."
To avoid hearing the sirens, whitney weaver says there are things that you can do to stay safe. The easiest thing to do is to unplug the space heaters before heading to bed or leave your house
"I don’t think it’s dangerous to leave them on all night. I think that it’s something before you go to bed, before you leave that room or leave that heater unattended is that you just make sure there’s nothing combustible around it."
While many heaters have protective cages around their heating source, or built in, weavers says nothing can replace human caution.
"Just take a moment and make sure the cord is not covered up, make sure you’re not plugged into a extension cord or a strip plug."
The devices may keep your family warm as temperatures cool down, but they can be dangerous if not used properly.
"If it’s your primary source of heat, it’s very critical that you take that time to make sure it’s a safe as possible, but they’re really not meant to be a permanent heating fixture in your home."
Weaver says if you are going to use a space heater make sure you have a working smoke alarm in your home in case something should go wrong.
"There’s a test button on it, give it a test, if you don’t remember the last time you changed the battery, change it out, even if it’s a wired smoke alarm."