New York City in a Deep Freeze Space Heater Safety Tips
January 23, 2013
With temperature highs only reaching into the 20's this week, New Yorkers may be breaking out their space heaters for the first time this winter.
While space heaters maintain warmth in thousands of New York apartments and homes, misuse could prove hazardous. Each year space heaters cause more than 25,000 residential fires and send 6,000 people to the ER for treatment of burns, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
New Yorkers can stay safe with these tips from State Farm:
Give the heater some space. Placing a combustible object too close to a heater is the leading cause of space heater fires. Allow at least three feet of open space on each side of the unit.
Use wall plug-ins. To prevent a fire, never plug a high-wattage space heater into an extension cord or multi-outlet strip.
Opt for quality. When shopping for a space heater, select a unit that has all the latest safety features and the Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) label of approval. Look for cool-to-the-touch housings and automatic shutoff features that turn the unit off if it's tipped over or overheating. Some units will automatically shut off if their infrared sensors detect a person or object that is too close to the heater panel—making them desirable choices for households with kids or pets.
Never run a space heater in an unoccupied room. Always turn off a space heater when you leave the room and before going to bed, especially if young children or pets could come in contact with the device. Unplug the unit as an extra precaution.
Size matters. Before purchasing a space heater, check the label to see if it is the appropriate size for the area you want to heat.
Keep electric heaters away from dampness. Operating units in wet areas such as bathrooms can cause electric shock. If you need additional heat in a damp location, purchase a heater specifically designed for this purpose.
Safety first. Every room in which you plan to run a space heater should be outfitted with a smoke alarm.
Learn more about safe space heater use from the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Savers website.
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