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Fire Safety - Portable Space Heaters

| Chaizong Lor

This winter has brought freezing temperatures and snow to certain sections of the country and it is far from over.  As the temperature drops during the winter season, many folks turn to alternative heat sources, such as space heaters, to help warm their homes. Many are unaware that the risk of fire from space heaters is 3 to 4 times higher than from central heating equipment.

Follow these simple precautions to keep your home safe and warm this winter:
Space Heater
  • Choose a heater that bears the mark of a nationally recognized testing laboratory such as UL
    (Underwriters Laboratories).
  • Read the manufacturer’s instruction manual before using any space heater.
  • Check the cord before plugging in the heater. If frayed, worn, or damaged, do NOT use the heater.
  • Do not use space heaters with extension cords. Plug them directly into an outlet on an unburdened circuit.
  • Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything that can catch fire, such as bedding, curtains, furniture, clothing, and paper.
  • Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, or furniture.
  • Do not use a space heater in damp or wet areas unless it is specifically designed for use outdoors or in bathrooms.
  • Keep space heaters out of high-traffic and exit areas.
  • Space heaters are meant to supply supplemental heat. Do not use them to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing, thaw pipes, or as the only means of heat.
  • Make certain the circuit you use for the heater can adequately and safely handle the added electrical demand.
  • Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn heaters off when you go to sleep or leave the room.
  • Turn off, unplug, and safely store portable space heaters when not in use.