Action Line: Maintain safety practices with space heaters
BY PHIL MULKINS World Action Line Editor
Thursday, February 07, 2013
2/07/13 at 4:06 AM
Dear Action Line: You need to do a reminder on portable electric heater safety. A neighbor had a fire caused by one in his living room - started by his cats pushing a stack of magazines over on it during the night. - D.K., Tulsa.
Death by space heater: Jan. 14, Kenneth Horton, 72, of northwest Tulsa, died of smoke inhalation after an electric space heater ignited magazines in his house. Tulsa firefighters pulled him from the blaze unconscious but attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.
On Dec. 27, an Oklahoma City man escaped a fire in his house after an electric space heater was placed too close to his bed and set fire to it. This occurred the day after another Oklahoma City space heater fire killed a mother and her 4 children.
On Dec. 26, Jeanine Bonnet, 28 and her four children; ages 8, 7, 5 and 3; died in a northwest Oklahoma City house fire caused by a space heater placed too close to flammable materials.
Less than a week before that, on Dec. 20, a mother and her two children died in a house fire in which three electric space heaters were in use in their Wilson home (south-central Oklahoma) in Carter County.
Heat safe: Never leave one running as you toddle off to bed. Don't operate them in rooms frequented by children or pets. Underwriters Laboratories ( tulsaworld.com/ULspaceheater) warns electric space heater users to put them "at least 3 feet away from combustibles." Use them only as supplementary heat sources. These heaters are not intended to replace home heating systems, as implied by the "portable fireplace" infomercials.
Extension cords: Don't use extension cords with them unless absolutely necessary. If you must, buy a 10- to 12-gauge extension cord as short as is practical - marked "AWG 10/3" or "AWG 12/3" (AWG is American Wire Gauge, 10 and 12 the gauge thickness and 3 the number of wires in the cord). Inspect the heater's cord for frayed wire insulation and don't use a space heater with a damaged cord.
Hot NOT: Check periodically for a secure plug/outlet fit. If the plug becomes very hot, the outlet might need to be replaced by a state-licensed electrician.
Only on floor: Heaters must be placed on flat, level surfaces. Never put them on furniture as they can fall and be damaged, breaking important safety sensors. Unless the heater is designed for use outdoors or in bathrooms, don't use them in damp, wet areas.
Safety certification: Look for the "UL Mark" on electric heaters before buying them in home remodeling stores as some of these carry unmarked (not safety inspected) products from China and the Far East. "UL" (Underwriters Laboratories) means representative samples of the appliance have met UL's stringent safety standards. Other safety-certification labels recognized by OSHA are those of "nationally recognized testing laboratories" ( tulsaworld.com/SafetyCertLabels) "CSA" from Canadian Standards Association, "CCL" from Communication Certification Laboratory Inc., "CSL" from Curtis-Straus LLC, "ITSNA" from Intertek Testing Services NA and "MET" from MET Laboratories Inc.
Original Print Headline: Maintain safety practices with space heaters
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