Frigid winter temperatures result in many households turning to alternative heating options, such as space heaters. Because of a space heater’s lack of visible flames, people tend to let their guards down when using them. Unfortunately, if not used safely and correctly, this type of alternative heating may cause fires, or deaths. According to the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters account for almost 50 percent of U.S. home heating fires and 86 percent of associated deaths. They are the second leading cause of fires in the United States. December through February are peak months for heating fires.
Here are some tips for safely using a space heater.
- Keep children and pets away from space heaters at all times.
- Never leave a space heater unattended.
- Do not use your space heater overnight. When you’re ready for sleep, turn the heater off.
- Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything combustible, such as walls, curtains, carpets, etc.
- Plug your space heater directly into and outlet. Never use an extension cord.
- Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.
- Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture, or carpet, which can overheat and start a fire.
- When purchasing a new heater, it is best to make sure it has an automatic power shut off, in the event the heater falls over.
- Unplug space heaters when not in use.
You should also install smoke alarms on every floor of your home and outside all sleeping areas. Test them once a month and change batteries when needed.
Stay warm this winter, but also stay safe.