The Dangers of Space Heaters

The Dangers of Space HeatersWinter is an exciting season for many people, with the cold weather ushering the holiday season and a new year. Some people enjoy the drop in temperatures and the chance to bundle up inside. However, with the transition into winter comes to the risks of fire and heating accidents, particularly space heater accidents.

Just last year, there was a garage fire in an Oklahoma City residential area. The garage fire was ignited by a space heater and residents were treated for smoke inhalation injuries. When firefighters arrived at the scene, the home’s garage was engulfed in flames. Firefighters were able to contain the fire to the garage; however, the residents’ attic sustained some damage.

The Oklahoma City personal injury attorneys at Cunningham & Mears discuss the dangers of space heaters in today’s blog, so you can be safe this winter.

How common are space heater accidents?

Unfortunately, space heater accidents happen frequently during the wintertime. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that space heaters are responsible for over a thousand home fires each year.

The National Fire Protection Association also reports that space heaters account for 81 percent of home heating fire deaths. Even with new advancements to modern space heaters, they still must have a heating element to them. If a space heater is left unattended, it can potentially lead to a heater accident, burn injury, or fire.

How do space heater accidents happen?

There are several reasons how space heater accidents can occur. One is leaving space heaters unattended. Allowing a portable heater to run unattended, especially while people are sleeping is extremely risky. Objects too close to a space heater can catch on fire in the blink of an eye.

Accidents can also result when young children are unsupervised around space heaters. Children might get too close, play with the heater’s buttons, or even knock it over. Parents are advised to exercise extreme caution if they must use a portable heater in the presence of a young child.

Can the location of a space heater lead to an accident?

Avoid placing a space heater in a location where it can fall. Some people place space heaters on top of a dresser or another piece of furniture. This may be for legitimate reasons, such as keeping tit out of a child’s reach. However, this is risky because the space heater could fall during use, causing a fire.

Can an overloaded circuit lead to a space heater fire?

Space heaters can cause electrical fires if they are plugged in an overloaded circuit. To avoid a potential electrical fire, ensure you plug your heater directly into the wall, use a three-prong extension cord, or a power strip with a surge protector. Unplug the space heater when no one is in the room to avoid the risk of an electrical fire.

Another action that causes space heater fires is placing them in close proximity with flammable items like pieces of furniture, towels, curtains, and items of that nature. Never use a space heater to dry or warm clothing or shoes. These actions can present a fire risk.

Preventing space heater accidents

Although space heater fires are common during the wintertime, you can help prevent these accidents from happening. One action residents can take is to place their space heaters on the floor. Place their space heaters on the flattest and smoothest surface possible in your home.

Keep your space heater is away from all wet locations in the home, like the bathroom or the kitchen where water has the possibility to come into contact with the appliance.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission also recommends practicing the “three-foot rule.” The three-foot rule is the requirement that residents avoid placing a space heater within three feet of any flammable items. Bedding, curtains, furniture, pillows, and items of that nature should stay at least three feet away from the space heater. In addition to these types of items, other flammable items such as paint should remain far away.

In addition to practicing the three-foot rule, never leave a space heater unattended. Many space heaters will come with instructions that recommend not keeping the space heater running when residents are sleeping. You should also keep a close eye on children or pets when the space heater is turned on.

At Cunningham & Mears, we believe that all products should be safe for consumer use. If you were injured because of a dangerous or defective product, our Oklahoma City attorneys have the experience and skill to obtain compensation for you. To learn more about our services, contact us through our contact form or call us at (405) 232-1212, today to schedule a free initial consultation.