NewsLocal News


Wintertime supplemental heat safety

Space heater and electric blanket safety
Posted at 10:07 PM, Nov 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-14 23:07:52-05

OMAHA, Neb. — As the weather gets cooler and cooler, people get more and more creative when it comes to staying warm.

"One of the big things we see this time of year is people want to supplement their heat," Papillion Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Jones said.

Heating options, like electric blankets, are plugged into households everywhere.

"I love it. I think everyone should own one. Especially in Nebraska and in the Midwest, it gets super cold," Omaha resident Owen Rush said.

Sometimes the heat from the blanket is a little too nice, and you fall asleep.

"I've heard stories of people using those and they have them turned up to high and they can develop a burn from those," Deputy Fire Chief Jones said.

Never plug your heated blanket into a power strip, always use a regular outlet. Fire officials say it's okay to keep them on, just make sure the heat level is safe and that you're never actually leaving the blanket on and unattended.

"If it's in use and you're there it's probably okay. Again, we would revert back to make sure it's in good working condition, that you aren't plugging it into an overloaded outlet," Deputy Fire Chief Jones said.

But it can be tricky to remember to unplug everything before leaving the house.

"I will just like run out of the house. First thing in the morning I'm usually thinking about something else, so I always forget to turn it off," Rush said.

Setting a timer or a reminder for yourself can help.

"Maybe I should take those into consideration and think, this is scary. This is serious," Rush added.

And if you're an early-bird Christmas decorator, the same goes for Christmas lights around the house and tree.

"When you leave, shut them off. Unplug them and shut them off," Deputy Fire Chief Jones said.

Space heaters can also be dangerous if left unattended. Make sure they are out of reach of children and pets. And make sure they stay away from highly flammable materials like carpet and curtains.