Space heater safety: How to warm those toes without starting a fire

This space heater is in the wrong place.
Photo: Patrick Benko
While spring just days away it’s still chilly out there, which means lots of folks are using space heaters to keep warm.

The National Fire Protection Association says space heaters lead to about one-third of all home-heating fires. Sadly, they’re also involved in 79 percent of home-heating fire deaths.

Here are some tips on staying safe with space heaters:

  • Use your space heater on a flat, solid surface and never plug it into an extension cord.
  • Create a gap of at least three feet between your space heater and items that can burn, such as furniture, bedding, paper and clothing.
  • Keep an eye on children and pets when using a space heater. Choose a space heater that will automatically shut off if tipped over.
  • Always turn off your space heater when you leave the room or go to bed.

It’s also a good idea to install smoke alarms in each bedroom, hallway and level of your home. Remember to test your alarms and replace the batteries regularly.

Don’t wait until a fire happens to create an escape plan. Fire experts suggest you may need to escape a house fire in less than two minutes to stay safe. Getting everyone out of the house that quickly takes planning.

Practice your escape plan with your family. Identify multiple ways to exit each room in case doorways or hallways are blocked by fire. Also, decide where to meet once you get outside. Practice your escape plan until everyone in the household feels prepared and can get out in two minutes. Don’t return to a burning home for any reason. As the American Red Cross says, “Get out, stay out and call for help.”

Learn more about home fire prevention and preparedness from the National Fire Protection Association and the American Red Cross.

For more home safety preparedness tips, check out Get Ready’s infographic.

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