RICHARDSON – Temperatures are expected to plunge into the teens over the next few days, which means a lot of people will likely be breaking out the space heaters to keep warm, which can be dangerous if not used properly.

Two in five deaths in space heater fires involve portable electric space heaters.

“Never place your portable space heater in front of your exit. If a fire does occur, you want to be able to have a way out of the home. Also, keep children away from the space heater and plug the space heater directly into a wall outlet. Never use an extension cord,” said Richardson Fire Marshal Wesley Caskey.

In the home, heating cooking equipment that burn fuel can be sources of carbon monoxide, often called the invisible killer because it’s a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. CO alarms should be tested at least once a month.

If people plan to use portable electric space heaters, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Purchase a heater with the seal of a qualified testing laboratory.
  • Keep the heater at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn, including people.
  • Choose a heater with a thermostat and overheat protection.
  • Place the heater on a solid, flat surface.
  • Make sure your heater has an auto shut-off to turn the heater off if it tips over.
  • Space heaters should be turned off and unplugged when you leave the room or go to bed.

Visit for more information on the city’s winter weather response.