Space Heater Safety Tips: Safe Ways to Delight in the Holiday Season
According to the U.S. Fire Administration data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), an estimated 240 home fires involving Christmas trees and another 150 home fires involving holiday lights and other decorative lighting occur each year. Together, these fires result in 21 deaths and $25.2 million in direct property damage.
There are ways to enjoy the holiday season and stay safe.Following a few simple safety tips will make your holiday a pleasant, memorable experience.
- If you're using a real Christmas tree, then keep it watered. One of the reason trees catch fire is because they're too dry. If you water your tree it will stay moist and if you don't it will get dry and brittle.A dry brittle tree will catch fire a lot easier than a moist, green one.
- Make sure your lights are UL listed for safety. Inspect them every year for frayed wires, bare spots, insulation gaps, and broken and cracked sockets. Make sure there isn't any excessive kinking or wear from storage. If they are not in proper condition, then buy new lighting. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
- Don't overload your electrical outlets. Don't link more than three light strands and connect them to an extension cord before plugging them in. Check the wires periodically to be sure they are not warm to the touch.
- Don't leave a lit tree unattended. Never leave the house with the tree lights on.
- Be sure to use only nonflammable decorations. They should be nonflammable or fire retardant and kept clear of heat vents.
- Make sure your tree isn't blocking any exits.
- If you're using a space heater, furnace or fireplace to stay warm this winter, be sure to keep any wrapping paper and other flammable away from the heater area.
- Also make sure your space heater is plugged into an outlet of its own to prevent circuit overload.
- The same way you check the lights for your tree, be sure to check the wiring and electrical cord on your space heater. Make sure it's free of frays as well.
- Don't place your Christmas tree close to any heat source.Keep it away from furnaces, space heaters, and fireplaces.
- Avoid using any kind of lit candles around the tree or anyother combustibles.
- Never go near a Christmas tree with any kind of open flame.
- Choose a heater that is marked by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
- Read the manufacturer's instruction manual carefully and follow all guidelines for use.
- Check the power cord before plugging the heater in. If it's frayed, worn or damaged, do not use the heater.
- Do not use space heaters with extension cords. Plug them directly into an outlet on an unburdened circuit.
- Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything that can catch fire, such as bedding, curtains, furniture, clothing, and paper.
- Place space heaters on a level, flat surface. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables or furniture.
- Do not use a space heater in damp or wet areas unless it is specifically designed for use outdoors or in bathrooms.
- Keep space heaters out of high-traffic and exit areas.
- Space heaters are meant to supply supplemental heat. Do not use them to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing or thaw pipes.
- Make certain the circuit into which you plug a space heater can adequately and safely handle the added demand.
- Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn heaters off when you go to sleep or leave the room.
- Turn off, unplug, and safely store portable space heaters when not in use.
- Don't use space heaters in rooms where children are unsupervised.
The U.S. Fire Administration indicates that some fires are started by dry lit trees and others are caused by candles. Another common cause for fires is gas-fueled equipment like pilot lights and fireplaces. Some fires are caused by cooking while others are caused by using space heaters.
Hopefully these safety tips will help you to enjoy Christmas with your family this season in a safe way.