Do not plug space heaters into power strips, fire department warns

HERMISTON, Ore. — An Oregon fire department is sharing a warning about how dangerous it is to plug a space heater into a power strip.

With the weather getting colder, people are bringing out their space heaters but it can melt a power strip if plugged in.

The Umatilla County Fire District No. 1 in Hermiston, Oregon, posted the warning along with a picture on Sunday. The post has since been shared more than 18,000 times.

“We just wanted to remind you that you should NEVER plug a heater into a power strip,” the fire department wrote.

“These units are not designed to handle the high current flow needed for a space heater and can overheat or even catch fire due to the added energy flow.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association, between 2009 and 2013, heating equipment, such as space heaters, were involved in an estimated 56,000 reported U.S. home fires — accounting for 16 percent of the total.

A reported 470 people died and 1,490 were injured as a result.

“Nearly half of all home heating fires occurred in December, January and February,” the NFP said. “Space heaters, whether portable or stationary, accounted for two of every five of home heating fires.”

The Electrical Safety Foundation International warns all space heaters should be plugged directly into a wall outlet and never in a power strip or extension cord.