Used properly, space heaters can provide welcome warmth. But please keep in mind, there are many dangers associated with them. They are responsible for approximately 25,000 residential fires each year, with more than 6,000 people visiting the ER from burns caused by space heaters. Whether you’re using an electric, propane or kerosene-powered heater, your friends at MTB suggest a few measures in mind to ensure your family’s safety.
1. Give your heater space. Never place combustible objects close to a heater. This is the leading cause of fires. Allow at least three feet of open space on all sides.
2. Never plug a high-wattage space heater into an extension cord or multi-outlet strip. The heater 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 an automatic shut-off feature if the unit 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. Size properly. 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 a damp area. A bathroom, for example, is a dangerous place for an electric heater.
7. Install detectors. 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.
If you have any questions about space heaters, or the proper size or usage, please give MTB a call at 704-321-9250.
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