Space heater safety

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BISMARCK, N.D. - With the below freezing temperatures, people are more inclined to use space heaters to warm up.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters account for 43 percent of U.S. home heating fires and 85 percent of associated deaths.

The NFPA says 53 percent of all home heating fire deaths happened because heating equipment was set too close to something that's flammable.

"Always place a space heater at least three feet away from any kind of combustible material. For example here, we got a chair set up with a blanket, we want to make sure we got plenty of clearance there," said Bismarck Fire Marshal Owen Fitzsimmons.

Fitzsimmons says to always plug the space heater into a direct outlet instead of using a power strip or an extension cord.

"Space heaters tend to draw a higher electrical current then most appliances. There's potential it could overload and melt or start a fire," said Fitzsimmons.

Runnings Store Manager Tony Jennings says it's important to have heat, but to be careful while using it.

"When we had that cold snap just after Christmas, we sold a lot of heaters then, and now with this new cold snap coming we'll begin to sell a lot of them again," said Tony Jennings, Runnings Store Manager.

Jennings and Fitzsimmons told me that automatic shut off heaters are the best to use, because they'll turn off if they tip over.

Fitzsimmons also said to never leave a space heater unattended and to make sure to check the outlet and plug frequently for any kind of overheating.