Lake Stevens Fire’s Jennye Cooper shows a portable heater. - Contributed Photo
It’s that time of year when we start noticing the season is changing. Leaves are falling, weather is cooler, and the days are getting shorter. It’s also that time of year when we start pulling out our portable space heaters, but did you know that portable heaters were involved in 45 percent of all fatal heating fires in residential buildings in the United States?
Between the years 2008 and 2010, the U.S. Fire Administration has estimated that there were 900 portable heater fires each year in the United States, which caused an estimated 70 deaths, 150 injuries and approximately $53 million in property loss. While these amounts may seem low, they still accounted for almost half of the fatal heating fires. Many of these fires could have been prevented with the correct usage.
Lake Stevens Fire recommends the following to help prevent portable heater fires:
• Turn heaters off and unplug them when you go to bed or leave the room.
• Only purchase and use portable space heaters from a recognized brand with an automatic shut-off so that if they’re tipped over they will shut off.
• Plug portable heaters directly into outlets and never into an extension cord or power strip.
• Inspect heaters for cracked or damaged cords, broken plug or loose connections, and be sure to replace any parts before using the heater.
• Make sure that there is a 3-foot radius from any objects surrounding the heater.
• For portable kerosene or other liquid-fueled space heaters, always use the proper grade of the proper fuel in well ventilated spaces.
Please keep these precautions in mind when using portable heaters. Lake Stevens Fire reminds you to be safe throughout the fall and winter seasons!