Stay Warm this Winter – But Don’t Get Burned by Your Space Heater

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While space heaters can effectively help people stay warm, they are a leading cause of fires in the United States, with more than 21,000 fires attributed to portable space heaters each year. According to ESFI, a proactive approach to electric space heater safety can not only keep people warm, it can keep homes, offices and families safe as well.

You are three to four times more likely to see a home fire from space heaters than from central heating. And many times, especially when providing supplemental heat in cold bedrooms or basements, people take unnecessary risks when using space heaters.

During the cold winter months, more than half of Americans plug in space heaters to supplement the central heating in their homes or offices. While space heaters can effectively help people stay warm, they are a leading cause of fires in the United States, with more than 21,000 fires attributed to portable space heaters each year. What’s more, electric space heaters pose the risk of electric shock if not maintained and used properly.

As Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) President Brett Brenner explains, “You are three to four times more likely to see a home fire from space heaters than from central heating. And many times, especially when providing supplemental heat in cold bedrooms or basements, people take unnecessary risks when using space heaters.”

According to ESFI, a proactive approach to electric space heater safety can not only keep people warm, it can keep homes, offices and families safe as well. The ESFI Space Heater Virtual Demonstration, available at the organization’s website (http://www.esfi.org) and on YouTube, provides a complete overview of electric space heater safety. In just two short minutes, ESFI’s virtual demonstration is packed with smart, life-saving information, such as:

  • Never leave an operating space heater unattended, and never leave children or pets unattended in a room with a space heater.
  • Place space heaters on a level surface at least 3 feet away from anything flammable, such as bedding, curtains, furniture, clothing, and paper.
  • Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture, or carpet, which can overheat and start a fire.
  • Do not use electric space heaters in wet areas, such as bathrooms, and never touch an electric space heater while you are wet.
  • Inspect portable electric heating equipment for cracked or broken cords or plugs and loose connections before each use.
  • Always plug electric space heaters directly into an outlet, on an unburdened circuit.
  • Unplug and safely store the heater when it’s not in use.

For more information on space heater safety at home or in the workplace, or to view ESFI’s virtual demonstration, visit http://www.electrical-safety.org.

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