How to safely use alternate heating sources

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With winter in full swing, many western Massachusetts residents may start using alternate heating sources.

According to the Valley Opportunity Council, 1,500 Hampden County residents who rely on fuel assistance have already used up most of their heating oil and could run out by the end of this month.

The Springfield Fire Department is asking residents to take precautions before heating with a wood stove or a space heater.

“If you’re going to use an electric space heater, make sure the electric space heater is plugged directly into the wall, not a circuit that can handle that amount of load,” Fire Commissioner B.J. Calvi said. “Don’t plug it into an extension cord. That could create a power overload, and could cause a fire.”

If you want to heat with a wood stove, Calvi said you need to make sure that your chimney is cleaned and that you burn well-seasoned wood.

Calvi also advises not using a propane space heater since they release too much carbon monoxide.

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