As the temperatures begin to drop and we snuggle up to warm heat sources such as space heaters, the Idaho Falls Fire Department reminds community members of these important safety tips.
Space heaters rated for indoor use should be operated according to the owner’s manual, used only while in the presences of the user, and be UL listed with tip-over shut off protection. Use of space heaters should only be temporary and are unsafe for prolonged periods.
"I’ve responded to at least two fatalities over the years from people using propane tanks or construction-type space heaters containing combustible fuel inside their homes," states Idaho Falls Fire Marshal Scott Grimmett. "Heat sources such as these displace fresh air and replaces it with carbon monoxide-filled exhaust fumes. They should only be used in well-ventilated spaces, with sufficient air flowing through them. They are not designed or safe to be used indoors," explains Grimmett.
All heat sources require at least 3 feet of clear space around them. Keep children, animals and any combustible materials away from heat sources.
"We have had several fires where people have used space heaters as a permanent heat source," states Grimmett. “Using space heaters, in place of an in-home furnace, may overload the electrical system and is dangerous.”
When using a space heater, it is recommended that only one heater be plugged into a GFI outlet at a time. The heaters should not be used with an extension cord.
Fire Marshal Grimmett also recommends an uninterrupted flow of electricity through extension and appliance cords. "Coiling and zip-tying cords causes resistance heating and pooling of the electricity and is unsafe."
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