Reasons a Space Heater Can Cause a Fire, & Safety Tips

Do you know the three reasons why a space heater can cause a fire, and what the No. 1 reason is?

6HAs a home security specialist, one of the areas of safety that I’m always screaming about during the cold weather is space heater safety, including making sure people know the reasons why such a little device could bring an entire house down in ashes.

The National Fire Protection Association names these three reasons that a space heater can start a fire: The unit is too close to a flammable agent like a mattress or bedding; the space heater is on but not attended; and dirty chimneys.

The NFPA offers these tips for electric space heater safety:

-Require a three-foot childfree zone around space heaters.

-Supervise children when a space heater is going.

-Put the “space” back in space heater: Give it ample personal space—three feet of it—from anything else.

-Make sure the unit has no broken or malfunctioning parts.

-The unit should always be on a flat, solid surface.

-Use only a unit with an automatic shut-off so that it shuts off if knocked over.

-Never use extension cords.

-Never leave a space heater on when absent or asleep.

Here are the NFPA’s tips for fuel burning space heaters:

-Use only the fuel that the manufacturer specifies, and the proper grade if the fuel is liquid.

-Refuel the unit only outside or in a well-ventilated area.

-Keep a window open when the unit is in operation.

-Newly manufactured gas space heaters have a mechanism that shuts it off if it detects low ambient oxygen. If your old unit doesn’t have this feature, replace it.

-Allow at least five minutes to lapse if your gas heater pilot light goes out, before relighting, and light your match before you turn the gas on to avoid a flashback.

-Never light the unit if you smell gas from it. Instead shut off all controls, open the doors and windows, then call a gas service tech.

Knowing the reasons why a space heater can start a fire is just the beginning of safety; you must also mind the rest of these tips.

Robert Siciliano home security expert to Schlage discussing home security and identity theft on TBS Movie and a Makeover. Disclosures. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247.

Workplace Safety Tips: Identifying Fire Hazards

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provide an exhaustive (and exhausting) detailed reference of fire safety standards here. Many states such as IOSHA (Indiana) have adopted these workplace safety tips and summed them up different fire hazards in a convenient way:

General Fire Safety Tips

To eliminate fire hazards, you can install a fire alarm system and look for potential sources of fire ignition which may exist in your facility, such as:

Electrical Failures and Misuse of Electrical Equipment

You can reduce electrical fire hazards by ensuring proper installation, maintenance, and use; conducting regular inspections; and, providing job training to employees. Also, be sure to replace worn electrical cords and avoid overloading electrical circuits.

Housekeeping and Maintenance

You can reduce the potential for fires through attention to housekeeping. Immediately dispose of flammable wastes and scrap in metal containers with metal lids. Avoid excessive stockpiling, and put trash and paper in proper containers.

Path of Travel

Do not store flammable material in any part of a means of egress. If the path that your employees must travel to leave the building is not immediately apparent from any point, mark the route with directional signs

Exit Doors

A door designated as a means of egress must be maintained so that employees can easily exit.

Do not lock exit doors; doing so prevents escape from inside the building.

Doors shall never be chained, barred, bolted, or latched when the building is occupied.

Prohibit the use of locking devices that are difficult to open against door pressure (e.g., slide bolts, hasps, hooks and eyes).

Prevent the door from being blocked by debris, surplus stock, mechanical equipment, or ice and snow.

Maintain all door components in working condition.

Robert Siciliano personal and small business security specialist toADT Small Business Security discussingADT Pulse on Fox News. Disclosures