Many people rely on space heaters during cold weather. Typically, they are used in chilly rooms as a supplement to the main heat source. Used properly, a space heater can provide welcome warmth but there are many dangers associated with using these heaters. In fact, they are responsible for approximately 25,000 residential fires each year. In addition, more than 6,00 people visit the ER each year from burns caused by space heaters. Space heaters can be electic, propane or kerosene powered. With each, there are safety measures that need to be taken to assure your family’s safety.1- Give your heater space. Never place combustible objects close to a heater. This is the leading cause of fires. You must allow for 3 feet of open space on all sides.
2- Never plug a high wattage space heater into an extension cord or multi-outlet strip. This appliance should be plugged into a wall outlet only.
3- Opt for quality. Select a unit that has all of the latest safety features. Look for cool to touch housings and automatic shut-off featiures that will turn off the unit if it is tipped over or is overheating. Some units have sensors that will shut them off if people, pets or objects are too close.
4- Never run a space heater in an unoccupied room. If you leave the room or are going to bed, turn the unit off.
5- Before you buy a space heater, check the label to see if it is the proper size for the room it is intended to heat.
6- Never operate an electric heater in an area that is damp. A bathroom, for example, is a very dangerous place for an electric heater.
7-Every room in which a space heater is being operated should have a smoke, detector. If you are using a gas or kerosene heater, you will need a carbon monoxide detector as well.
8- Never fill a kerosene heater until you have allowed it to completely cool.
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