Stay Safe and Warm with Space Heaters
By Pete Carr, VP & Branch Manager
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), supplemental heating equipment, such as space heaters, is the leading cause of home fires from December through February, and the second leading cause of home fires year-round. If you plan to use a space heater for some additional warmth this winter, keep the following safety precautions in mind:
- Do not use space heaters to warm bedding, thaw pipes or dry clothing. Misusing a space heater can increase fire and burn risks, and put you and your family in danger.
- Select space heaters with the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) safety mark. The UL mark signifies that the product was tested for potential safety hazards. Also, purchase units with automatic shut-off features and heating element guards.
- Keep any items that could potentially be a source of fire at least 3 feet away from a space heater. This includes clothing, drapes and bedding.
- Turn off space heaters when you leave the room or go to sleep.
- Supervise children and pets around space heaters to prevent burns.
- Check for frayed insulation, broken wires and overheating on electrical space heaters. If you notice any of these problems, have the unit serviced immediately.
- Use only fuel recommended by the manufacturer for liquid-fueled space heaters. The wrong fuel could burn hotter than the equipment can handle and could cause a fire. Also, turn off the heater and let it cool before refueling.
- Avoid using extension cords with space heaters. If you must do so, make sure that the cord is the right gauge size and type for the heater.
- Avoid placing space heaters in high-traffic areas of your home. Units with long cords can present a tripping hazard
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