With the severe cold we're experiencing in the Tennessee Valley, everyone is trying to stay warm.

Staying warm often means using additional sources of heat, such as small space heaters.

Using them safely is important, as the Director Tony Reavley of Hamilton County Emergency Management/Homeland Security reminds us.

“As temperatures continue to fall, people are looking for additional heat sources to heat their home and as a result, safety gets pushed aside”, said Reavley.

Reavley suggests space heaters should be used at least three feet away from all combustibles. 

Clothing, furniture and curtains can easily catch fire from a space heater. 

If you are using a fireplace with a chimney, make sure your chimney has been inspected by chimney professionals to check for creosote build-up or bird/animal nests, both of which can contribute in starting a house fire. 

“We also want to encourage everyone to check their smoke detectors. Make sure they are working properly. Have you changed your batteries? Smoke detectors do save lives,” Reavley explains. 
Additionally, Hamilton County EMA officials encourage people to:

  • Bring pets inside out of the frigid temperatures
  • Check on the elderly
  • If you have to go outside, be prepared
  • Dress in layers to keep warm