As temperatures begin to drop, more families are relying on portable space heaters for their heating needs. While space heaters can make up for the inefficiencies of home heating systems, one aspect that is less talked about is the fire risk they can pose to families. Before the bitter cold spews into your home, The Insurance Center would like to share a few essential space heater safety tips that can help you prevent a home fire and the costly repairs that usually follow.
Robert J. Sammon, President of The Insurance Center, urges families to take certain precautions when handling space heaters to avoid the needless loss of life. “Statistics around space heater fires paint a grim picture that should serve as a reminder to families to be careful. Although space heaters account for one-third of winter house fires, more deaths result from these types of fires.”
The National Fire Protection Association has found that 80 percent of house fire deaths are caused by space heaters. Furthermore, the U.S. Fire Administration found that portable space heaters were responsible for 1,650 residential fires, roughly costing families $84 million in property losses between 2013 and 2015.
Fire safety experts say these statistics can be improved if more families took appropriate safety measures. To help your family stay safe this winter, The Insurance Center would like to share these essential safety tips.
Unplug Space Heaters When Not in Use
Families can protect their loved ones by turning space heaters off before going to bed. Space heaters should not be left unattended because if an accident occurs, the resulting fire can spread very quickly.
Always Plug Units to the Wall Outlet
Space heaters require a high current, and most extension cords were not designed to extend that level of power. What typically ends up happening is that the cord begins to melt and it could ignite flammable objects that are nearby.
Place Space Heaters on Stable Footing
Space heaters are typically designed to stand, and are usually easy to tip over. This can be dangerous if different parts of the unit is hot to the touch and ends up igniting something that is nearby.
Establish a Space Heater Safety Zone
Families can take additional precautions by placing a three-foot rule around the space heater. In this space, kids are not allowed to run and flammable objects are placed elsewhere.
Avoid Use of Damaged Space Heaters
Damaged or heavily worn space heaters are more likely to have malfunctions. These errors could cause of number of issues that could lead to a fire.
These are just some of the precautions families can take to protect their loved ones this season. The Insurance Center encourages families to heed these tips to help prevent a home fire, and avoid costly repairs as we head into the new year. For other home safety tips or ways to protect your family from the unexpected, visit an Insurance Center location near you.