SAN ANTONIO – A space heater can help keep your home comfortable in bone-chilling temperatures, but experts warn they can pose dangers, especially if they aren’t used properly.
Portable space heater fires cause an average 70 deaths and 160 injuries a year, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Before you plug in the space heater, here is what fire safety experts suggest:
- Give it space. The heater should be placed at least three feet from flammable objects such as draperies, furniture, bedding, and papers.
- Set it on a flat, stable surface. It should not be on carpeting or rugs.
- Keep it away from children or pets.
- Plug is directly into the wall. Don’t use extension cords or power strips because they may not be able to handle the current and spark and fire.
- Never leave it unattended. Don’t use it while you sleep. Instead, unplug it when you go to bed.
Newer space heaters have a mandatory automatic-turnoff feature should the unit tip over. Older units may not, so consider replacing them. Also, looked for worn or frayed cords.
Be sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors have working batteries.
Don’t use the oven, gas stove or backyard grill for home heat.
If using a generator during a power outage, it should be placed at least 20 feet from the house and the exhaust should vent away from the home.
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