Here’s what you need to know before turning on heaters

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Freezing temperatures are here and people across the Valley kicked on their heating systems and space heaters to stay warm. If you turned it on this week or plan to soon, experts say you need to be careful.

Home heating equipment is the leading cause of fires in U.S. homes so while staying warm is a necessity it’s also important to be extra cautious when using space heaters in your home.

Over half of the home heating fire deaths were caused by having heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses or bedding, according to a study by the National Fire Protection Association.

Huntsville’s Assistant Fire Marshal, Trent Bennett told News 19 that they’ve already seen space heaters cause home fires this year. There are some simple things you can do to make sure your family stays safe.

“If it’s UL listed, that means it has been tested, also, read the directions on it to see if it has thermal cut off. Most heaters now when they tip over, they’re going to cut off. Keep it in space, keep it away from combustible material, and keep it away from you,” Bennett said.

Bennett said it’s extremely important to turn the space heater off when you leave a room and especially when you leave home.

Lastly, if you’re plugging the heater into an outlet, Bennett said to make sure it’s going directly into a wall. Plugging it into an extension cord could cause a short circuit, that could lead to a fire.

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