Space Heater Safety Tips

blog-default In the coming winter months, home security procedures will expand as people seek to stay warm through the use of space heaters. These devices can provide a wonderful source of heat if used properly, but can be dangerous if left unmonitored. Last month, a fire in a Nevada home caused by an unattended space heater left four people and a pet homeless and caused roughly $50,000 in damages.

Using space heaters Though installing and using a space heater is simple, it's important to read safety warnings, as additional procedures may be necessary. All units should be be given enough space to ensure that the surrounding environment will not be set ablaze. Also, don't use any devices that have exposed wires or parts. It can be tempting to place a device on a table, but do not do so unless the product is designed for such use. Placing too much weight on any surface may cause it to collapse and would become a fire hazard. As with any stove, oven or any appliance that creates heat, never leave a space heater unattended. Anything could happen and cause a house fire. Portable heaters also present more immediate dangers such as burns. Be sure to keep children and pets away from the devices.

Maintaining smoke and fire alarms It is important to have smoke and fire alarms installed, tested and maintained. Should a fire occur while inhabitants are asleep, an alarm would enable the residents to escape in time. It also serves as a warning to neighbors, who can call the fire department while the inhabitants evacuate. It also alerts neighbors, in case the fire is able to spread. It is critical to routinely test smoke and fire alarms. Some devices run on batteries, while others are hardwired, but have backup batteries should electricity fail. In both cases, the batteries should be replaced once every year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Those who reside in houses may have to call the fire department in the event of a fire, while apartment complexes have hardwired units that send an automatic signal to fire departments. In case of a fire, always use the stairs and stay low, as smoke rises. If the fire alarms are triggered, elevators are programmed to go to the bottom floor and remain open. Space heaters are useful devices but require constant attention. By maintaining your unit and keeping up with your smoke and fire alarms, the winter months can be enjoyed without danger.