Thousands of lives are needlessly lost each year between December and February due to space heater fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Some space heaters are as small as toasters, but when not used properly, they can be deadly. The following precautions will help to prevent you from joining the list of thousands who will lose their lives this year due to carelessness involving space heaters.
Place the heater on a hard non-flammable surface and at least 3 feet away from any material that can catch fire.
The "tip switch" turns the electric space heater off an if it is accidentally knocked over.
The overheat protection feature will turn off a heater that gets too hot.
Some models have "touch protection." This feature automatically shuts the heater off when someone or something touches the grill.
A guard around the heating element helps to avoid finger burns on a curious child.
To prevent fires, do not run a heater for long periods of time. Turn it off when leaving the room or going to sleep.
Covering electrical cords may cause them to heat up. Do not run space heater cords in a high traffic area or hide them by placing something over them.
Do not use an extension cord. If you must use one, avoid the possibility of fire due to overheating by purchasing a heavy-duty cord.
Place the heater in an area where it will not be accessible to children and pets.
Have smoke detectors and alarms on each floor of the house, especially outside all bedrooms.
Check the plug to make certain it is not getting hot as this could result in a fire. If the plug does heat up, have the heater inspected by a technician. If you are using a previously purchased heater, check for frayed wiring and cracked or damaged plugs.
KEROSENE and PROPANE HEATERS
All fuel burning space heaters emit carbon monoxide, but not enough to cause a serious problem if the heaters are placed in an area with adequate ventilation.
An automatic cut-off feature on kerosene heaters extinguish the flame if it is accidentally tipped over.
Propane fuel heaters have a low-oxygen shutoff valve.
Keep kerosene and propane heaters properly adjusted and clean by having them inspected annually.
Do not leave kerosene and propane space heaters on when leaving the room or going to sleep because of the danger of carbon monoxide buildup.
Make certain your heater has a guard around the flame area (burner) on kerosene and propane heaters to avoid finger burns on a curious child.
Only use the fuel recommended by the manufacturer of the space heater. Never add more fuel to a heater that has not completely cooled down.
Using or storing flammable liquids near a space heater can cause the vapors to ignite when exposed to an open flame or an electrical spark.
Place smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and alarms on each floor of the house, especially outside all bedrooms.
Check you local fire regulations and your fire insurance. Some areas and insurance policies prohibit the use of fuel burning space heaters.
Make certain the heater you have purchased has been certified and tested by a nationally recognized testing laboratory as this indicates the manufacturer has met all current safety standards. Each manufacturer provides a comprehensive list of instructions and precautions for the safe use of their products. Reading all the information provided will insure warmth, comfort and safety for you and your family.