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Charlie's House in Kansas City takes initiative to prevent house fires caused by space heaters

Local organization advises the community to be caution with space heaters this winter season
Posted at 6:32 AM, Jan 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-19 08:32:09-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo — In response to the recent deadly house fires around the Kansas City area, a local organization has stepped up its efforts to educate and empower the community with crucial house safety tips.

As the cold winter weather continues to grip around Kansas City, many residents turn to space heaters to stay warm. However, this seemingly innocent solution has become one of the leading causes of house fires.

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Recognizing the importance of fire prevention awareness, organizations like Charlie's House are dedicated to teaching the community safety tips.

"As people get busier, they take space heaters for granted and they leave them unattended and they don't know some of the guidelines that are important to prevent fires and injuries around the space heaters," said Bob Renton, program manager of this organization.

For years, Charlie's House has been committed to educating the community on ways of preventing tragedies around the house.

 "At Charlie's house, especially during heating season in the winter, there are additional risks and hazards that we try to educate and raise awareness of in and around the home. And that includes fireplace safety, space heater safety, and just generally reminding people that the importance of smoke alarms and to make sure they're functioning, " said Renton.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, they estimate nearly 21,000 house fires are caused by space heaters and of all fire-related deaths, 80% of them are caused by space heaters. Numbers for many like Renton that are shocking, but can be preventable.

“Makes me feel terrible, but it's no surprise," said Renton. "This is severe and it doesn't surprise me. As cold as the temperatures have been, people are very desperate to make sure that their houses are warm and comfortable.”

Here are some safety tips Charlie's House recommends when using a space Heater:

  1. Choose the right heater: Find a space heater that is suitable for the size of the room you intend to heat.
  2. Keep a 3 ft. rule: Make sure to maintain a safe distance between the space heater and any objects such as furniture, curtains, or bedding. Keep the 3 feet rule in mind.
  3. Plug directly into outlet: Avoid using extension cords or power strips with space heaters. Plug the device directly into a wall outlet to prevent overheating and reduce the risk of electrical fires.
  4. Never leave space heater unattended: Turn it off when you leave your home or go to sleep to prevent accidents.
  5. Use on flat surface: Place your space heater on a level, flat surface to prevent it from tipping over. Some models come with tip-over protection features.

Renton said following these simple yet livesaving tips can help prevent any tragedies in your home.
"I think the important thing is just be aware of the hazards in the home that generally cause fires."