Statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) show space heaters are responsible for 32 percent of house fires involving heating equipment. However, space heaters are especially dangerous because they are responsible for 79 percent of fatal home heating fires. Only cooking and smoking cause more deaths. Many of these deaths are preventable. The following tips may help prevent space heater fires:
- Keep children away from space heaters. The NFPA recommends a three-foot “kid zone” around these devices. Make sure children are supervised because they may knock over or put objects in front of space heaters.
- Never place other objects near space heaters. These devices can burn objects from three to five feet away. The NFPA claims half of fatal space heater fires occur because people place objects nearby. Be especially cautious of bedding and furniture.
- Always turn off space heaters when leaving the room or before going to bed.
- The NFPA recommends using space heaters with an automatic shutoff mechanism that can turn off the device if it falls over.
- Only place space heaters on flat, nonflammable surfaces. Ceramic or concrete floors are the safest choices.
- Place your space heater in an area with less foot traffic. People walking by may knock space heaters over.
- Ensure space heaters are not damaged. For example, damaged wiring may cause fires.
- Only plug space heaters into outlets. Never use extension cords.
- Never place space heaters near wet surfaces or water. These devices should never be used in bathrooms.
- Always check for product recalls. Some space heaters may have defects.
Space Heater Fires are Common During the Winter Months
Believe it or not, there were 66,400 house fires involving heating equipment in 2007. Space heaters were responsible for more than a quarter of those incidents. If you are going to keep your home safe during the winter months, please be sure to use extra caution.
The New Jersey personal injury attorneys at Keefe Law Firm can help people and families that have been harmed by defective products.