Those of us living in colder states know the comfort of a space heater keeping our toes warm all winter long. But CPSC estimates that portable electric heaters are involved in about 1,100 fires per year, resulting in about 50 deaths, dozens of injuries and millions of dollars in property loss. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 32% of home heating fires involve space heaters, resulting in about 80 percent of home heating fire deaths in the United States.
Below are several tips for buying and using your space heater safely.
Before you buy:
– Make sure your space heater has a seal of a nationally recognized testing laboratory such as UL. This ensures that it won’t ignite tissue if tipped over.
– Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home and outside all sleeping areas and inside each bedroom and test them once a month.
In the home:
– Remember, your space heater needs space! It’s flaming hot! Keep material such as curtains, sofas, beds, clothes and papers at least three feet away from the front, sides and rear of the heater.
– Make sure the heater is placed on a stable, flat surface, and located where it cannot be knocked over.
– Never leave the heater on while unattended, or while sleeping. Consequences could be disastrous.
– Do not use extension cords or power strips with space heaters, to reduce the risk of fires.
– During use, check frequently to determine if the heater plug, cord, wall outlet or faceplate is hot. If so, turn it off and have a qualified electrician inspect.
Kerosene Heater Safety:
– A quick note about kerosene heater safety. Use only water-clear 1-K grade kerosene. Never use a substitute like gasoline or any other fuel.
– Never refuel heater while it is operating or hot.
– Operate only at recommended flame height. And please remember, always operate heater with doors of rooms open to reduce exposure to indoor pollutants, such as carbon monoxide.