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11/21/2006 ~ When temperatures dip in the Florida Keys, portable space heaters can be a blessing in a cold and drafty house. But space heaters, and any electrical product with a heating element, produce a lot of heat, and, if not used carefully, can become a fire hazard.

Keys Energy Services recommends following these safety principles with portable space heaters:

- Plug portable space heaters directly in to an outlet; do not use an extension cord.

- Make certain the circuit into which you plug a space heater can adequately and safely handle the added demand.

- Never remove the grounding feature on a plug by clipping or grinding off the third prong.

- Use an adapter to connect the heaterís three-prong plug, if you do not have a three-hole outlet. Make sure the adapter ground wire or tab is attached to the outlet ground.

- Relocate heaters away from passageways and keep all flammable materials such as curtains, rugs, furniture and/or newspapers at least three feet away.

- Unplug and safely store portable space heaters when not in use.

For more electrical safety tips, visit the Electrical Safety Foundation International at

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