As the holiday season quickly approaches and temperatures continue to drop, many families are doing just about anything to stay warm – piling on the blankets, busting out the cozy Christmas onesies, and plugging in the old trusty space heater.
However, staying warm should not sacrifice safety. While space heaters are a great thing to have during the colder months, they still need to be used responsibly. Heating equipment fires are the second leading cause of residential fires in the U.S., according to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association). Heating equipment fires usually happen at night and can spread throughout an entire house within minutes. In order to prevent any space heater-related accidents, here are four easy ways to use a space heater safely this holiday season.
- NEVER LEAVE A SPACE HEATER UNNATENDED – most house fires happen during the night when people are asleep and spread so fast it could be too late by the time someone wakes up. Fires can be prevented if heating equipment is always supervised. Always keep an eye on heaters when using them, and ALWAYS remember to unplug heaters when leaving the room.
- Keep space heaters AT LEAST THREE FEET away from all flammable materials – most fires start because a space heater was left unattended next to a blanket, curtain or laundry basket. Leaving flammable materials like cloth curtains and clothes close to a space heater only heightens the risk of an incident. It’s best to leave the space heater sitting in the middle of the room to avoid any incidents.
- Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet, NOT an extension cord or surge protector – plugging heaters into anything except a wall outlet only increases the chance for overheating. Minimize these chances by avoiding extension cords and surge protectors if possible.
- If possible, purchase spaces heaters with an automatic shut-off switch – an automatic shut-off switch can prevent a house fire in case a space heater overheats. However, this only lowers the risk of house fires and should still be monitored.
Space heaters can be a life saver when used correctly. But without proper supervision and care, it can lead to more problems than cold feet during the holidays. If fire damage does occur, always remember to contact SERVPRO® of Southwest Lubbock at 806-780-6311 to make it "Like it never even happened."