WHEELING, W. Va. (WTRF) In bitter cold weather, space heaters are extremely popular.

But they’ve caused some tragic fires over the years.

Wheeling Assistant Fire Chief Deric Jamison says the number one rule is to plug your space heater directly into the wall socket.

“Never into a power strip, and never into an extension cord,” Jamison warns. “Always directly into the wall receptacle. You want to make sure you keep a clear area of at least three feet around the heater, away from anything that will burn. And never leave a space heater on while you sleep. You can get too warm and unknowingly kick the covers off and they can land too close to the space heater. That can cause a fire.”

He also says to keep pets and children away from the space heater.

And make sure you have one with tip-over protection, in case it gets bumped.

And Jamison says when you leave the room, always turn off the space heater, or better yet, unplug it.