When the weather turns cold, electric space heaters are often used as a way to supplement central heating or to warm up one particular area of the home. But they can also lead to house fires, related injuries and even deaths.
Due to recent and tragic events in the Bronx where a space heater caused a deadly fire that killed 19 people, including nine children and harmed dozens of others, we want to remind you of how to keep you and your families safe while using a space heater:
- Check that your space heater has the seal of qualification of an accredited testing laboratory.
- Place the space heater at least three feet away from anything that is flammable or can burn – including people and pets.
- Inspect your heater for wear and tear, including the cord and plug. If you see any damage, do not use the heater.
- Never leave a space heater unattended. If you leave a room or are going to sleep, always turn it off.
- Space heaters are meant to provide supplemental heating. Never use a space heater to warm blankets or clothes, cook food, or thaw pipes.
- Install smoke detectors in each room in your home and test them once a month.
- Keep space heaters out of high-traffic areas in your home, including doorways.
- Do not use extension cords or power strips to plug in space heaters. They should always be plugged directly into a wall outlet.
- Space heaters always need to be on level, flat surfaces – NEVER carpet, cabinets, tables, or furniture.
- When your space heater is not in use, always unplug it and store it safely.
We hope that you will implement these safety precautions and know the dangers of using space heaters. Stay warm and, most importantly, stay safe!