It’s that shivering time of year again. Most of the U.S. is feeling below freezing temperatures and even the South is experiencing a hard freeze.
So stored-away space heaters emerge in our efforts to stay warm. We at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (C.P.S.C.) want to remind you about a few winter safety tips. From 2003 through 2005, there was an annual average of 57,300 fires and 270 fire deaths associated with portable heaters, central heating systems and fireplaces and chimneys.
To use your space heater properly, there are several do’s and don’ts:
- Use a space heater that has been tested to the latest safety standards and has been certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. These heaters have the most up-to-date safety features. Older space heaters may not meet newer safety standards. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for proper use.
- Place the heater on a level, hard nonflammable surface such as a ceramic tile floor.
- Keep the heater at least three feet away from bedding, drapes, furniture and other flammable materials.
- Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
- Turn the heater off if you leave the area.
- Never leave a space heater on when you go to sleep.
- Don’t place a space heater close to any sleeping person.
- Never use gasoline in a kerosene space heater, as even small amounts of gasoline mixed with kerosene can increase the risk of fire.
- Don’t use portable propane space heaters indoors or in any confined space unless they are specifically designed for indoor use.
Also, be sure to guard against carbon monoxide poisonings by installing carbon monoxide alarms in your home. Make sure that your CO alarm batteries are fresh and working.