Expert demonstrates safe practices when using a space heater

Apartment fire sparks concern about space heaters
Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 4:47 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - With temperatures dropping, more and more people will be using space heaters in their homes.

Space heaters are a common threat to households in the winter. In fact, that’s what led to a fire in Tabor City last November when a nine-year-old girl’s heater caught fire in her bedroom. Luckily, she woke up in time to warn her entire family before it was too late.

That danger is one of the reasons why experts say you should never leave a space heater unattended. There are a number of other tips you should follow to prevent a space heater fire, too.

“One thing to make sure, even before you use your space heater is to make sure you read all the paperwork that comes with your space heater,” said Deputy Fire Marshal Sunnie Batson. “When you take your space heater out, you want to verify that there are no frays or nicks in the cord.”

When setting up your heater, be sure to put it in a safe place. That means putting it on a hard surface that is not flammable. If it’s on carpet, put it somewhere where it won’t get kicked over.

“[Make sure] your cord doesn’t become a trip hazard because that, too, will knock your space heater over,” said Batson.

You also want to make sure it’s clear of any nearby curtains, bedding or other materials that could catch fire. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is the meter rule.

“A meter around your heater,” said Batson. “So, 36 inches around a kid-free, pet-free zone. The hazards with having kids or pets close to space heaters being unattended is possibly tipping over the space heater and causing a fire that way.”

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