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November Safety Tip

Space Heaters

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that more than 25,000 residential fires and more than 300 deaths are caused each year by space heaters. More than 6,000 Americans receive hospital emergency room care annually for burn injuries associated with room heaters.

To reduce the risk of a fire or injury, consider the following:

  • Make sure the heater you buy carries a certification label from an independent testing organization, like UL or CSA International
  • Ensure there is a smart sensor that shuts the heater off when it overheats and a tip over switch that does the same if the heater is knocked over
  • Avoid placing heaters too close to curtains, bedding, and upholstered furniture, papers, boxes
  • Be aware that most space heaters do not come with a GFCI plug which prevents electric shock, and should not be used around water.
  • Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.
  • Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture, or carpet, which can overheat and start a fire.
  • Always unplug and safely store the heater when it is not in use.
  • Do not use an extension cord. If you must use an extension cord, make sure it is marked #14 or #12 AWG. AWG stands for American Wire Gauge. A higher AWG indicates that there more bundled sheathed wires and stronger insulation.
  • Don’t use heaters in basements or workshops. Proximity to furnaces, paint cans, gas cans, matches, or other combustible materials is a major hazard. Basements and workshops also do not provide an ideal place for a heater.

November 2018 Safety Tip:  Space Heaters