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      Space heaters a hot safety issue

      As the seasons shift in Southwest Georgia, residents are looking to keep warm in the cooler conditions. But using a space heater may not be the safest way to go.

      "The biggest dangers in regards to space heaters is where people locate them. The most common problem we see is people putting them to close to their bedding, sofas, or drapes, any combustible material," said Albany Fire Department Assistant Chief, Allen Cravey.

      In fact, the National Fire Protection Association reported over 22,400 house fires caused by space heaters in 2008. Coupling that with thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths, local Albany residents aren't exempt from those statistics.

      "We get several calls each year because of space heaters, there again its usually because it was placed too close to a combustible material or something was laid on top of it," said Cravey.

      Cravey says placement and being responsible with the heater is important, but there's one last tip to stay safe.

      "Turn it off at night before you go to bed, turn it off before you leave. It's not intended to be a continuously used heat source," said Cravey.

      Cravey encourages residents to be mindful of their space heaters so they can stay safe and warm this season.