As winter gets closer (it’s already arrived for many), the use of space heaters rises. but with the increase in the use of space heaters, the responsibility of maintaining safety standards should also increase,

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in 2011, 53,600 reported U.S. home structure fires can be attributed to home heating equipment, with associated losses of 400 civilian deaths, 1,520 civilian injuries, and $893 million in direct property damage. These fires accounted for 14% of all reported home fires.

To help protect you during this winter season, here are 10 safety tips for the use of electric space heaters.

  • Read the manufacturer’s instruction manual before using any space heater. Check to make sure the heater bears the mark of a certified testing organization.
  • Carefully check all electric space heaters for signs of frayed wires, broken wires, overheating or frayed insulation. If any problems are found the heater should not be used.
  • Keep space heaters at least 3 ft. away from any combustible materials such as bedding, clothing, draperies, furniture and rugs.
  • Keep space heaters away from areas with water. Check your manual to be sure the heater is intended to be used in locations such as bathrooms.
  • Pets and children should be carefully supervised around space heaters. These appliances get very hot, and children or pets can easily be burned severely.
  • Avoid using an extension cord with a space heater. If you must use one, make sure it is the right wire gauge size and type for the heater.
  • Portable heaters have hot parts that can cause sparking. Do not use them in areas where flammable liquids such as gasoline or kerosene are used or stored.
  • Never lay clothes or any other materials on top of a space heater. It can be tempting to dry clothes, socks or shoes near a space heater, but those materials could easily catch fire.
  • Make certain the circuit into which you plug a space heater can adequately and safely handle the added demand.
  • Unplug and safely store portable space heaters when not in use.