Although the warmer months are quickly approaching, that doesn't mean it is too early to learn about space heater safety (especially given how unpredictable our climate is these days!) In November 2011, the National Fire Protection Association demonstrated that space heaters and other heating equipment were involved in approximately 58,900 home structure fires, 1,520 civilian injuries, 480 deaths and a little over $1 billion dollars in damage.
First, it is important to remember that flammable material, such as a blankets, plastic and cotton curtains, should be kept at least three feet away from the heater. That means, fight against the urge to rest these items on top of your heater, and when your bed sheets feel chilly at night, keep in mind resting your space heater against any fabric is never recommended.
Next, remember to keep your electric heater upright. Never lean it against anything, such as a table or shelf. Doing so can increase the risk of fire. It also raises the chance it will fall over and break.
Keep in mind that simple inspections will decrease the probability that your electric heater will catch fire. Take notice of any damaged, exposed or frayed wires. If you see this defect, take it to an electrician immediately to have it fixed.
Also, keep an eye on children and pets when they are around the device. Severe burns have been known to occur when little ones and animals are not monitored when playing around an electric heater, especially small, portable models that can easily be tripped over.
FInally, remember to turn your heater off when you leave the house or are going to sleep. Leaving it on too long can cause the heater to burn out and can increase the risk of a fire.