Local News

Safety warning: Why you should never plug space heaters into power strips

SPOKANE, Wash. - Fire specialists are sharing safety warnings as temperatures dip down and people crank up the heat. 

A photo of a fried power bar shared Monday by Umatilla County Fire District #1 in Hermiston, Oregon came with a warning. 

The post said "You should never plug a heater into a power strip. These units are not designed to handle the high current flow needed for a space heater and can overheat or even catch fire due to the added energy flow."

The message and photo have since gone viral. Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer emphasized the importance of safety.

"There are so many of these things that come into play in the winter that can be so dangerous and can be completely predicted, so they should be preventable," Schaeffer said. The way that we heat our homes is one of the most dangerous things we do and it's probably something most of us take for granted."

There's a lot you can do to stay safe when it comes to heating your home. 

- Put heater on a solid, flat surface that isn't made of a combustible material.

- Keep anything that could catch fire at least three feet away from the heater.

- Keep kids and pets away from the heater.

- Update your equipment and look for heaters that include automatic shutoff feature.

- Check for UL label, which means the product meets safety standards.