LITTLE ROCK, Ark- With temperatures dropping throughout the region, the American Red Cross is urging families to take precaution. Heating equipment is the leading cause of fires in the country and home fires are 30% higher during cold temperatures than warmer times of year. 

Red Cross of Greater Arkansas Communications Director John Brimley said, there were over 400 fires in the Little Rock area since January, and families should follow the following tips to safely heat their homes: 

  • If you must use a space heater, never leave it unattended. Place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface, such as a ceramic tile floor. Don’t place it on rugs and carpets, or near bedding and drapes.
  • Plug space heater power cords directly into outlets — never into an extension cord. Turn the space heater off every time you leave the room or go to sleep. 
  • Keep children, pets and anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment. 
  • Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
  • Never leave a fire burning in the fireplace unattended. Make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to bed or leaving home. Use a glass or metal fire screen to keep embers in the fireplace.
  • Have furnaces, chimneys, fireplaces, wood, and coal stoves inspected annually by a professional and cleaned if necessary.

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