The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that from 2008 to 2010, approximately 1200 fires per year were caused by space heaters. Most home fires are more prevalent in cold weather as more people use space heaters, electric heaters and/or kerosene heaters. Winter storms can lead to interruption in electric services especailly when icy storms weigh down power lines and trees causing them to fall or snap. Fire safety and prevention is especially important during times of prolonged severe cold weather.
According to national statistics, only 50% of winter fires are attributed to home heating fires. But 80% of home heating fires are responsible for deaths. Winter is the season when the most number of fires occur. Fire safety and injury prevention, must not be sacrificed in an effort to stay warm. The rule is “Stay warm but do it safely”.
We all have heard of the age old practice of thawing frozen water pipes with a space heater or even a kerosene heater due blackouts and extreme weather conditions. But placing a space heater at the edge of a crawl space and watching it for hours as the pipes slowly begen to thaw may seem safe, but it only takes a few minutes of unsupervised thawing to set a house on fire. Each year fire claims the lives of 3,400 Americans, injures 17,500, and causes billions of dollars worth of damage.
Make sure your portable heating unit has these three things:
- A built in breaker
- An automatic timer
- Will shut off if tipped over
If you circumvent any of the precautions, you are asking for trouble. If a space heater is placed next to a bed, against towels in a bathroom, or near any combustible a space heater can cause a fire.
Here are some points for proper space heater use:
- Keep all space heaters at least 3 feet from any combustible materials
- Use only as a supplementary heat source. They are not to replace a home heating system.
- Do not use extension cords unless absolutely necessary.
- Do not use a space heater with a frayed cord or damaged insulation
- Use correct fuel for a liquid fueled heater
- Place heater on a level surface.
- Remember the key term is “Use Properly”
Interested in more safety tips and ways on saving money on insurance check out some of our other blogs!