Space Heater Safety Tips

You may have heard about the unfortunate 4-alarm house fire on Coral Street on Wednesday, November 13. Luckily the occupants were not home at the time, but a dog died in the fire and the building was heavily damaged. The fire was accidental, but like many this time of year, was sparked by a space heater.

While space heaters are great for heating small spaces for a short period of time, they pose potential risks if not used properly.

Keep your home and family safe this fall and winter by reviewing the following tips*:

#1 – Read the manufacturer’s instructions and any warning labels before use.

#2 – Keep flammable materials (fuel, fabrics, paper, etc.) away from the heater.

#3 – Unless heater is specifically designed for use outdoors or in a bathroom, keep your heater out of damp areas. It could be damaged by the moisture, resulting in a fire or electric shock.

#4 – Occasionally check for a snug outlet fit. If the plug doesn’t fit into the outlet securely, or if the plug overheats, the outlet may need to be replaced.

#5 – Unplug the heater when not in use. Pull the plug straight out from the outlet; don’t yank on the cord. If the cord becomes damaged, do not use the heater until the cord is replaced.

#6 – Keep your heater at least 3 feet away from objects like curtains, beds, furniture, etc. Ensure that the heater’s air intake and exhaust sources are not blocked by anything.

#7 – Place the heater on a flat, level surface. Do not place heaters on furniture, as damage from a fall may cause a fire or shock hazard.

# 8 – Keep children away from heaters and do not leave a heater in a child’s room without supervision.

#9 – String out cords on top of rugs or other flooring. Placing the cord underneath something could cause damage to the cord.

#10 – Do not use an extension cord unless absolutely necessary. If you must use one, it should be marked “12-gauge” or “14-gauge.”

If you have any questions about fire safety, feel free to contact the  Lancaster City Bureau of Fire at 717-291-4866.

*Adapted from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers "10 Tips for Use and Care of your Portable Air Heater" brochure.