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Space Heaters Used Incorrectly Can Cause Tragedy
Updated December 29, 2017 8:37 AM
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(UNDATED) - The cold weather has hit and often people turn to space heaters to help warm up their homes.

Space heaters are popular devices for a number of reasons: they're small, cost efficient and can keep your family warm. But it turns out, many people use them incorrectly and in an instant, tragedy can strike.

The Lawrence County Volunteer Fire Department Association says space heaters are involved in two of every five fires started by home heating equipment.

Moreover, they are by far the most dangerous and destructive types of fire as they accounting for 84 percent of civilian deaths, 75 percent of civilian injuries, and 52 percent of direct property damage.


  • Purchase a heater with the seal of an independent testing laboratory.
  • Keep the heater at least 3 feet (1 metre) away from anything that can burn, including people.
  • Choose a heater with a thermostat and overheat protection.
  • Place the heater on a solid, flat surface.
  • Make sure your heater has an auto shut-off to turn the heater off if it tips over.
  • Keep space heaters out of the way of foot traffic. Never block an exit.
  • Keep children away from the space heater.
  • Plug the heater directly into the wall outlet. Never use an extension cord.
  • Space heaters should be turned off and unplugged when you leave the room or go to bed.

Types of electric space heaters

  • Oil or water-filled radiator - Heated oil or water travels through the heater.
  • Fan-forced heater - A fan blows warm air over metal coils.
  • Ceramic heater - Air is warmed over a ceramic heating element.
  • Infrared heaters - Heat is created by infrared bulbs.

Nearly half of all space heater fires involve electric space heaters.

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