Home fire deaths are on the rise this winter, and space heaters are one of the main culprits. Amica Insurance is sharing safety tips to help prevent fires through the proper use of space heaters.
Home fires occur most often in January, February and March, as people try to keep warm with additional sources of heat. Space heaters are a popular – but sometimes dangerous – option to provide that warmth, and Amica Insurance is offering some tips to help use them safely.
“With frigid temperatures across many parts of the country this winter, space heaters are an attractive option to keep homes warm,” said Mike Gillerlane, a senior assistant vice president with Amica Insurance. “They can be a major safety hazard, though, so be sure to take the proper precautions when using them.”
A release from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IIBHS) says that home fires have resulted in 149 deaths in January, 24 more than at this same time in 2012, according to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). Additionally, home fires lead to an average of 18,300 injuries per year and cause billions of dollars in damage.
That’s why Amica Insurance is sharing these tips from the IIBHS website to encourage the proper use of space heaters:
- Keep a distance of 36 inches between the heater and combustible materials like bedding, furniture, wall coverings and other flammable items.
- Do not leave a heater unattended.
- Electric heaters should be inspected prior to use. Check the cord for fraying and cracking, and look for broken wires or signs of overheating in the device itself.
- Use only heavy-duty extension cords marked with a No. 14 gauge or larger wire.
- If the heater plug has a grounding prong, use only a grounding (three-wire) extension cord.
- Never run the heater cord, or any cord, under rugs or carpeting.
- With liquid fuel-powered devices, use only kerosene or oil heat. Never use gasoline or any other substitute fuel.
- Allow the heater to cool down before refueling.
“Stay warm this winter, but do it safely by following these tips on space heaters,” Gillerlane said.