A recent house fire in Indianapolis, on the 1600 block of Tacoma Avenue on the city’s east side, is a good reminder to us all of the importance of space heater safety. The Indianapolis Fire Department says four separate fires to date have forced 15 people into the frigid night to escape smoke and flames started by space heaters. 1
Here are some important space heater safety tips.
- Never operate a heater you suspect is damaged. Before use, inspect the heater, cord, and plug for damage.
- Never leave the heater operating while unattended, or while you are sleeping.
- Keep combustible material such as beds, sofas, curtains, papers, and clothes at least 3 feet (0.9 m) 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 the 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, and 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.
- Insure that the heater is placed on a stable, level surface, and located where it will not be knocked over.
- 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 electrocutions, always keep electric heaters away from water, and NEVER touch an electric heater if you are wet.
- Make sure you have a working smoke alarm. Check and change the batteries annually.