Portable space heaters are popular, and when used safely are a dependable means of staying warm during cold weather months. But safety should always be the key concern of home and business owners using these devices. That’s because space heaters are involved in thousands of fires every year that result in injury, deaths and millions of dollars in property loss. Paul Davis offers the following safety recommendations to help prevent fire caused by space heaters.

  • Never operate a heater you suspect is damaged. Before use, inspect the heater for any damage and check the cord and plug for breaks or fraying.
  • Follow all operation and maintenance instructions.
  • Visit www.cpsc.org to see if your electric heater has been recalled for any reason.
  • Never leave the heater operating when you leave the room or while you are sleeping.
  • Keep combustible material such as beds, sofas, curtains, papers, and clothes at least three feet from the front, sides, and rear of the heater.
  • Be sure the heater plug fits tightly into the wall outlet. If not, do not use that outlet to power the heater.
  • During use, check frequently to determine if the heater plug or cord, wall outlet, or faceplate is hot. If the plug, outlet, or faceplate is hot, discontinue use of the heater.
  • Have a qualified electrician check and/or replace the plug or faulty wall outlet(s). If the cord is hot, disconnect the heater and have it inspected/repaired by an authorized repair person.
  • Never power the heater with an extension cord or power strip.
  • Make sure the heater is placed on a stable, level surface, and located where it will not be knocked over.
  • When purchasing a heater, ask the salesperson whether the heater has been safety-certified. A certified heater will have a safety certification mark.
  • Never run the heater’s cord under rugs or carpeting. This can damage the cord, causing it and nearby objects to burn.
  • To prevent electrical shocks and electrocution, always keep electric heaters away from water, and never touch an electric heater if you are wet.