Early this month, 5 children tragically died in a house fire in Florida. The St. Petersburg Times and other local media have reported that a space heater may have sparked the fire. Sadly, this tragedy is also a reminder to anyone who uses space heaters to keep the following safety dos and don’ts in mind:
- Use a space heater that has been tested to the latest safety standards and has been certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. These heaters have the most up-to-date safety features. Older space heaters may not meet newer safety standards. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for proper use.
- Place the heater on a level, hard, nonflammable surface, such as a ceramic tile floor.
- Keep the heater at least three feet away from bedding, drapes, furniture, and other flammable materials.
- Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
- Turn the heater off if you leave the area.
- Never leave a space heater on when you go to sleep.
- Don’t place a space heater close to any sleeping person.
- Never use gasoline in a kerosene space heater, as even small amounts of gasoline mixed with kerosene can increase the risk of fire.
- Don’t use portable propane space heaters indoors or in any confined space unless they are specifically designed for indoor use.