Portable electric space heaters provide an inexpensive and effective way to keep your office or work space warm during the colder months. If used improperly, however, space heaters can pose a significant risk of fire. Fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent space heater fires.
Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the heater you are using. In general, stick to the following guidelines when using a portable space heater to make sure you stay warm – and safe:
- Make sure your space heater has a label showing it has been certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
- Before each use, inspect the heater for any signs of damage, such as a frayed cord or broken plug. If you see any signs of damage, do not use the heater.
- Plug the heater directly into a wall outlet, not into a power strip or an extension cord, which can overheat and cause a fire.
- Place the heater on a flat, level surface. Never place heaters on top of tables, filing cabinets or other furniture.
- Place the heater in a spot with low foot traffic where it will not pose a tripping hazard. Make sure the heater is placed at least three feet away from anything that can burn, such as rugs and office paper.
- Never leave your space heater unattended when it is on. Turn it off before you leave the room.
- Before leaving work each day, unplug and safely store the heater.