Space Heater Dangers and Proper Usage
By Ben Rogalski
Affton Fire Protection District
From the time period of 2009-2013 U.S. fired departments responded to an average of 56,000 structure fires involving heating equipment. These fires resulted in 470 civilian deaths, nearly 1500 civilian injuries and $1.0 billion in direct property damage. Of these structure fires, 40% of them involved the use of space heaters. Space heaters alone account for 84% of the civilian deaths and 75% of civilian injuries, compared to the second highest at 5% of civilian deaths being the result of a fireplace or chimney.
These are some easy ways to keep your home as safe as possible in these winter months:
- Keep anything that can burn such as bedding, clothing, and curtains, a minimum of 3 feet away from the heater.
- Make sure your heater has an automatic shut off if tipped over.
- Turn heaters off when you leave the room or go to bed.
- Plug heaters directly into the outlet and never into an extension cord or power strip.
- Only use portable heaters from a recognized testing laboratory.
With these simple but effective points your home can be safe and warm during the winter. For more information see the attached image below. Together we can reduce the number of injuries, deaths, and property damage this winter. Good luck, keep warm and be safe.