Portable space heaters are responsible annually for an average of 14,400 home fires, resulting in 400 deaths, 1,100 civilian injuries, and causing $909 million in property damage. The chance of tragedy resulting from a portable heater can be greatly reduced if the following safeguards are applied:
Safety Tips to Reduce the Risk of Fires and Injuries:
- Select a heater that is UL approved with a tip-over feature. This feature will shut off the heater should it tip over.
- Plug your heater directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord because it could become overheated and start a fire.
- Check the electric cord on your existing unit for damage.
If the cord gets hot, frayed, or cracked, do not use the heater. Have it serviced as soon as possible.
- Keep electric heaters at least 36” from combustibles.
Combustibles include blankets, furniture, clothing, paper, draperies, etc.
- Vacuum any lint or dust from the heater.
A dirty heater can overheat, resulting in fire. Make sure to unplug the heater before vacuuming.
- The heater should have a working thermostat designed into it.
This will insure that the heater will not overheat.
- The heater should have an element guard.
This will prevent burns.
- Turn off heaters when family members are sleeping or leave the house.
Unattended heat sources are a major cause of fires.
- Do not hang combustible items to dry over a portable heater.
These may catch fire.
- Keep heaters out of traffic areas or exit systems.
Blocked exits are a main source of fire death.
- Always ensure an adult is present when using a portable heater around the home.
Children or pets can easily tip over a heater and do not understand possible burn and fire hazards.
- Do not use kerosene heaters in homes.
These are not approved in the State or Oregon, are subject to sudden flare-up and omit poisonous fumes.
- Ensure you have working smoke detectors and test them frequently.
It is recommended you have a smoke detector on every level of the home, in the immediate area outside of the sleeping rooms, and in every bedroom.