Staying Safe with Heaters
During the cold winter months, many people crank up their heating system and put out space heaters to keep their houses toasty warm. While heaters are necessary to chase away the chills, they can also be a dangerous source of injuries such as burns and carbon monoxide poisoning. Thus, staying safe with heaters is key to protecting you, your loved ones, and your home.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates that in 2006 alone, 540 people died and another 1,400 were injured in heater-related accidents. Heaters caused about $943 million in direct property damage. Additionally, NFPA asserts that heaters are the primary cause of house fires in December, January, and February, and are second only to cooking fires during the other months.
Before you turn on your heater, make sure that it is laboratory-tested for safety. These tests make sure that the product follows certain safety standards. Also, purchase one with a grill guard to help prevent burns. Unless it is a portable space heater, consider having a professional heating service install the item to make sure it’s properly done. Lastly, think about putting carbon monoxide sensors in your home to alert you if carbon monoxide levels reach a dangerous level.
Place a space heater at least three feet away from everything flammable, and do not place flammable materials within three feet of a permanent heater. Double-check the wiring, and use heavy duty extension cords if necessary. Do not run the power cord under rugs or carpets. Lastly, never leave portable heaters on and unattended.
Sadly, even the most safety-conscious individuals can be tripped up by a faulty heater. Improperly manufactured heaters can be extremely dangerous and even deadly. If you or someone you know has suffered from burns or other injuries because of a defective heater, you should talk to an attorney about your rights.