TOPEKA – Every year the Topeka Fire Department responds to numerous structure fires that are associated with the improper use of space heaters. You can help reduce the occurrence of these accidental fires.
Following these 10 simple safety tips can drastically reduce the chances of accidental fire associated with a space heater.
Only use space heaters that have been tested to the latest safety standards, and certified by a nationally-recognized testing laboratory. Older space heaters may not meet newer safety standards.
Carefully check all electric space heaters for frayed or broken wires, overheating or frayed insulation. If you find any problems, you should not use the heater.
Use heaters on the floor. Never place heaters on furniture.
Keep the heater at least three feet away from bedding, drapes, furniture, and other flammable materials.
Pets and children should be carefully supervised around space heaters to prevent accidents, including severe burns.
Never lay clothes or any other materials on top of a space heater. It can be tempting to dry clothes, socks or shoes near a space heater, but those materials could easily catch fire.
Turn off all space heaters when the room is empty, and turn off all space heaters before going to bed for the night. Unplug all heaters when not in use.
The Topeka Fire Department Prevention Division does not recommend using an extension cord with a space heater. If you find it is absolutely necessary to use an extension cord, remember, using a light-duty, household extension cord with high-wattage appliances can start a fire. If you must use an extension cord, it should be marked #14 or #12 AWG.
Be sure the plug fits snugly in the outlet; a loose plug can overheat and cause a fire. Even operating correctly, the cord and plug may feel warm. If the plug feels hot, unplug the heater and have a qualified repairman check for problems. Using a heater with a hot cord or plug could start a fire.
Do not conceal cords under rugs or carpets. Since the cord and plug generate heat, even when operating properly, placing anything on top of the cord could cause the cord to overheat and can cause a fire.