With cold weather arriving, the majority of us have already pulled out the portable heaters and with that, comes the very real concern of home fires. 

Here are some  concerning the use of portable heaters from FEMA and Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue Service:

  • An estimated 900 portable heater fires are reported to U.S fire departments each year and cause an estimated 70 deaths, 150 injuries and $ 53 million in property loss.
  • Only 2 percent of heating fires in residential buildings involved portable heaters, however, , portable heaters were involved in 45 percent of all fatal heating fires in residential buildings.
  • Portable heater fires in residential buildings peaked in January (26 percent).
  • 52 Percent of portable heater fires in residential buildings occurred because the heat source was too close to combustibles.
  • 38 percent of portable heater fires in residential buildings originated in the bedroom.

While portable heating fires were small in number, the consequences were substantial, accounting for nearly half of all fatal heating fire in residential buildings. You can prevent a portable heater fire in your home this winter by following a few fire safety steps:

  • Turn heaters off when you go to bed or leave the room.
  • Only purchase and use portable space heaters from a recognized testing laboratory with an automatic shut-off so that if they’re tipped over they will shut off.
  • Plug portable heaters directly into outlets and never into an extension cord or power strip.
  • Inspect heaters for cracked or damaged cords, broken plug or loose connections.
  • For portables kerosene or other liquid-fueled space-heaters, always use the proper grade of the proper fuel.
  • Be sure every level of your home has working smoke alarm, and be sure to check and clean it on a monthly basis.
  • Plan and practice a home escape plan with your family.

Contact Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue Service for advice if you have a question on home fire safety. For more information click here.