Space heaters can create large fires very quickly, as this firefighter demonstrates quite well!

Portable Heater Safety is Crucial During Winter’s Coldest Months!

The arrival of single-digit weather in Tennessee this week is prompting the State Fire Marshal’s Office to remind residents to stay safe when using portable heaters in their homes.  “We cannot stress enough the importance of following safety precautions when using portable space heating devices in your home,” said State Fire Marshal Julie Mix McPeak. “Keeping fire safety in mind can help save lives and property.”

Portable heaters are common sights during winter, but they can sometimes lead to tragedy if not used properly. According to the Tennessee Fire Incident Reporting System (TFIRS), 3,194 heating fires occurred in Tennessee from 2009-2013. These fires claimed the lives of 39 people, injured 49 and damaged $32.7 million in property. Space heaters were involved in 59% of all state heating fire deaths. 56% of all heating fires happened in just three months of the year – December, January, and February.
You can help prevent a portable heater fire in your home this winter by following a few fire safety steps:

  • Turn heaters off when you go to bed or leave a room.
  • Keep anything that can burn, including bedding, clothing, curtains, pets and people at least three feet away from portable heaters.
  • Only use portable heaters from a recognized testing laboratory and with an automatic shut-off so that if they tip over, they shut off.
  • Plug portable heaters directly into outlets and never into an extension cord or power strip.
  • Check the cord for fraying/cracking and look for broken wires or signs of overheating in the device itself.
  • Never run the heater cord (or any cord) under rugs or carpeting.

Remember:  the worse can happen.  Develop and practice a fire escape plan, have two ways out of every room and/or building, and gather in designated meeting places in the event of any emergency.