REDINGS MILL, Mo. — Many of us in the Four States are bracing for snow and brutally cold temperatures later this week.

Area firefighters want you to be safe if you’ll be using space heaters to stay warm.

The Redings Mill Fire Department hasn’t battled any space heater-triggered fires yet, but with bitter temps on the way, it could only be a matter of time.

Fire Chief Steven Coats was curious just how hot space heaters can get. Coats ran this small unit for about 20 minutes when he decided to find out how hot the air just a few feet away they got.

“So you know, just under 300 degrees is what that space heater has, so you want a three-foot clearance around your space heater, and it’s not just in front of it, it’s beside it, it’s behind it and above it as well,” said Steven Coats, Redings Mill Fire Chief.

But sometimes it’s not the space heater itself that triggers the fire.

Using the same thermal imagining device, that firefighters use to help locate people trapped inside a blaze, to see what the temperature coming off the cord would register.

It’s hot enough to produce a heat signature well over a hundred degrees.

Coats says that the temperature would have continued to rise the longer it was plugged into a standard extension cord.

“Some of the extension cords that people buy to use with a space heater are something that draws a lot of power, just does not meet the standard that’s needed to compensate for the power that’s being drawn through it, so therefore it overheats, it short circuits and that’s where some fires can be started,” said Coats.

Anytime you use a space heater, which comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, coats say either plug it directly into a wall socket or use a heavy-duty extension cord and plug that into a socket.

“So you want a three-foot clearance around your space heater, and it’s not just in front of it, it’s beside it, it’s behind it and above it as well,” said Coats.