As the chill of winter creeps into homes, people across the U.S. use space heaters to stay warm. However, many people fail to practice proper space heater safety. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) reports that 32 percent of home heating fires involve space heaters and are involved in 79 percent of home heating fire deaths. Our defective product attorneys want you to stay safe and warm this season — if you plan on using a space heater, explore a few of the NFPA’s top safety tips.
Practicing Space Heater Safety
The peak months for home fires are December, January and February, causing many victims to seek out a defective product attorney. The NFPA cautions the public to practice space heater safety this winter by:
- Never operating a damaged heater. Before using, inspect the heater, cord and plug for exposed wires or other damage.
- Creating a “neutral zone.” The NFPA recommends keeping a three-foot “neutral zone” around space heaters. This zone should remain free of combustible materials such as bedding, clothing, furniture or curtains. In addition, never run cords under rugs or carpets — this may damage them and cause a fire.
- Supervising children. Children may not understand space heater safety— always watch them around space heaters to ensure they don’t hurt themselves, tip it over or place flammable items near it.
- Check for safety features. When purchasing a heater, you should only buy portable heaters with a safety certification mark and an automatic shut-off feature (in case it tips over).
- Never leaving a space heater unattended. As defective product attorneys, we’ve seen fires break out due to someone leaving a room or falling asleep — stay alert while operating a space heater in your home.
- Keeping it stable. Space heaters should only sit on flat surfaces to avoid any falls.
- Avoiding extensions. Extension cords and power strips may overheat or cause fires if damaged. The NFPA recommends plugging power cords directly into outlets.
- Inspecting periodically. Inspect the heater periodically while operating. If the heater, plug, cord, wall outlet or faceplate becomes hot to the touch, discontinue use immediately.
- Staying dry. Space heater safety means avoiding contact with water. You should keep portable heaters away from any liquids and never touch a heater if you are wet.
If you’ve experienced a fire due to a space heater, our defective product attorneys are here to help. Casey, Devoti & Brockland is a St. Louis-based personal injury law firm handling personal injury matters, including automotive crashes, medical malpractice, birth injuries and beyond. Our attorneys proudly serve clients throughout metropolitan St. Louis, southeastern Missouri and southern Illinois.
For more tips on space heater safety or to start your own personal injury case, contact the attorneys at Casey, Devoti, and Brockland.