Space Heater Safety Tips
When the weather turns cold, it can bring a chill into our homes. Portable space heaters have become a popular way to supplement central heating or heat one room. If you plan to use portable electric space heaters, make sure to follow these tips and recommendations from the Electrical Safety Foundation and the National Fire Protection Assocation:
- Purchase a heater with the seal of a qualified testing laboratory. Before using the space heater, read the manufacturer's instructions and warning labels carefully.
- Choose a heater with a thermostat and overheat protection. Make sure your heater has an auto shut-off to turn the heater off if it tips over.
- Inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections before each use. If frayed, worn or damaged, DO NOT use the heater.
- Keep the heater at least three (3) feet away from anything that can burn, including papers, clothing, rugs and people. Keep space heaters out of the way of foot traffic. Never block an exit. DO NOT let children or pets play too close to a space heater.
- Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. DO NOT use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and result in a fire. DO NOT plug any 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.
- Never leave a space heater unattended. They should be turned off and unplugged when you leave the room or go to bed. Always unplug and safely store the heater when it is not in use.
- Remember - space heaters are only meant to provide supplemental heat and should never be used to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing or thaw pipes.
- AND MAKE SURE YOUR SMOKE DETECTORS AND INSTALLED AND WORKING PROPERLY!
There are several types of electric space heaters.
- Oil or water-filled radiator - Heated oil or water travels through the heater.
- Fan-forced heater - A fan blows air over metal coils.
- Ceramic heater - Air is warmed over a ceramic heating element.
- Infared heaters - Heat is created by Infared bulbs.
Prevent Winter Holiday Fires
It is fun to decorate for the winter holidays, but holiday decorations can increase your risk for a home fire. As you deck the halls this season, be fire smart. Here are some not so jolly facts about holiday fires and useful holiday safety tips:
More than 1/3 of home decoration fires are started by candles. Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that burns. Think about using battery-operated flameless candles.
Christmas trees that are not kept moist can present a very serious fire hazard. When you bring a tree home, cut about an inch off the end of the trunk. This will remove the dried end and allow the tree to absorb water. Always keep the water tray full so the three stays moist.
A dry Christmas tree can burn very hot and very fast. More than 1 in every 5 Christmas tree fires were caused by a heat source too close to the tree. Make sure your tree is at least 3 feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, candles or heat vents. Also make sure your tree does not block exits.
Read manufacturer's instructions for the number of light strands to connect and use only lights that have been tested by Underwriters Laboratories (UL label) or another reputable testing agency. Always turn off lights on trees and other decorations when you go to bed or leave your home.
Fireplace and Chimney Safety
Do the chilly temperatures have you dreaming of cozy gatherings around a brightly lit fire? Whether your ideal winter retreat is in the warm glow of the family room fireplace or sitting by a fire under the stars, the Hanover Park Fire Department says safety should be your first priority. Follow these helpful tips to keep you and your family safe when you use fireplaces and wood stoves.
- Have your chimney or wood stove inspected and cleaned annually by a certified chimney specialist. This reduces the risk of fires and carbon monoxide poisonings due to creosote buildup or obstructions in the chimney. To locate a certified chimney specialist, visit the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) website.
- Install a chimney cap to keep debris and animals out of the chimney. Remove branches at least 15 feet away from the top of the chimney.
- Choose the right fuel. Choose well-seasoned wood that has been split for a minimum of six months to one year and stored in a covered and elevated location. Please never burn Christmas trees, treated wood or construction debris in your fireplace. This material can cause damage that could later result in a chimney fire or a fire that extends into your home. Burn only wood or wood pellets in wood stoves.
- Cover the fireplace with a screen. Tempered glass or a metal screen help protect against sparks leaving the fireplace. Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from fireplaces and wood stoves. The openings can get hot enough to burn skin, so keep children and pets far away from them.
- Never leave a fire unattended. When you are finished with your fire, put it out before you leave home or fall asleep. When you clean up, place the ashes inside a metal can with a lid. Store the can outside, away from the home, until the ashes are completely cold.
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Place detectors throughout the house and check batteries when you change your clocks for Daylight Savings time, unless you have the 10-year sealed battery detectors.
For any fire safety questions or information, please give the Hanover Park Fire Department a call at (630) 823-5800.