Fire Safety Tips: Using Portable Electric Heaters

It is estimated that half the deaths and one third of the injuries resulting from electric heater fires occurred at night when family members were asleep and the heater was unattended. Another concern with electric heaters is the use of power or extension cords which can be too small to supply the amount of current required by the typical portable heater.  
 

Fire Safety Status Check

To be safe, you should be able to answer “yes” to the following statements. 
 

  • The heater is operated at least three feet away from upholstered furniture, drapes, bedding and other combustible materials. 
     
  • The extension cord (if used) is marked #14 or #12 American Wire Gauge (AWG). 
     
  • The heater is used on the floor. 
     
  • The heater is turned off when family members leave the house or are sleeping.  
Safety Tips 
  • Operate heater away from combustible materials. Do not place heaters where towels or other materials could fall on the appliance and trigger a fire.
     
  • Avoid using extension cords unless absolutely necessary. If you must use an extension cord with your electric heater, make sure it is marked with a power rating at least as high as that of the heater itself. Keep the cord stretched out. Do not permit the cord to become buried under carpeting or rugs. Do not place anything on top of the cord.
     
  • Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture or the like. Never use heaters to dry wearing apparel or shoes. 

 


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