How to stay safe while using space heaters

Local News

(WWLP) – As the weather cools and space heater usage goes up, 22News is working for you with safety tips to prevent a fire in your home.

According to the State Fire Marshal, 148 fires caused by a space heater were reported between 2010 and 2019. Of those, 1 in every 74 space heater fires is deadly. In that same 9-year-period, space heater fires caused 2 deaths, 16 injuries, 28 fire service injuries and an estimated $10.9 million in damages.

Electrical space heaters work by expelling hot air through a fan, which helps circulate the heat and warm the space needed. When a space heater is too close to a flammable object or left unattended, it can overheat and cause a fire. Space heaters should never be left unattended or running while you are sleeping.

“If you want a space heater in your bathroom, just make sure you’re not too close to your shower or any other water sources because that can cause a fire. No space heaters on anything flammable, so you know no beds no nightstands and anything relating to that and we’ll have a safe winter,” said Luke Sopet, Assistant Manager at Rocky’s Ace Hardware.

The following information is provided by the state fire marshal’s office.

Space heater fire safety tips:

  • When buying a heater, look for one that has been tested and labeled by a nationally recognized testing company, such as Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL).
  • Keep the heater 3-feet away from drapes, furniture or other flammable materials.
  • Place the heater on a level surface away from areas where someone might bump into it and knock it over.
  • Avoid using extension cords. If you must use an extension cord, make sure it is a heavy duty cord marked with a power rating at least as high as that on the label of the heater itself.
  • Never leave a space heater unattended or running while you sleep.
  • Supervise children and pets when a space heater is in use.
  • Keep electric heaters away from water. Never use them near a sink or in the bathroom.
  • The sale and use of unvented kerosene heaters is illegal in Massachusetts.

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