October is Fire Prevention Month, and organizations like the American Red Cross are distributing information to help people lessen the fire risks within their homes.
As the temperatures start to drop, many turn to space heaters to provide additional warmth in their homes or offices. Yet the U.S. Department of Energy says “safety is a top consideration when using space heaters. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 25,000 residential fires every year are associated with the use of space heaters, causing more than 300 deaths.”
Here are a few tips to help you and your family use your space heater safely:
*Buy a current model with updated safety features. Also check to be sure your heater has an Underwriter’s Laboratory attached.
*Select a heater that’s properly sized for the area you want to heat rather than one that’s too large.
*Once you’ve purchased your space heater, install it on a level surface and keep it away from areas of foot traffic — this will lessen the chance that the heater will tip over. Keep children and pets away from the heater, and make sure it’s not too close to window treatments, table coverings or other fabric.
Of course, space heater use isn’t the only thing you can do to minimize your risk of fire. The American Red Cross recommends making sure you have smoke detectors installed throughout your home, and also creating a fire escape plan so that you and your family can safely exit the house in the event of a fire.
If you have any other fire safety or space heater tips, we’d love to hear them!