Caution urged when heating living spaces with portable heaters or other sources

Space Heater Safety News Graphic
Share To Your Social Network

With Missouri experiencing a prolonged period of sub-freezing temperatures, the Division of Fire Safety is emphasizing the need for caution when using space heaters and other supplemental heating sources. Statistics show that space heaters contribute to one-third of home heating fires and are responsible for 80 percent of heating fire deaths annually. The hazards extend to overloaded extension cords, power strips, and generators.

State Fire Marshal Tim Bean stresses the importance of safe usage. “During extreme cold, many resort to space heaters and additional heating sources, often overlooking the inherent risks,” he said. “We urge the public to adhere to manufacturer guidelines and basic fire safety practices, including the installation of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in homes.”

Safety Tips for Heating Equipment Usage:

  1. Turn off portable heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.
  2. Maintain a minimum three-foot clearance from heating equipment for all combustible materials, including furniture, drapes, and electronics.
  3. Establish a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  4. Avoid overloading extension cords or outlets. Use cords rated for electric heater loads and never cover them with rugs.
  5. Refrain from using cooking devices or outdoor propane heaters for indoor heating.
  6. Ensure functional smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home.
  7. Keep a fire extinguisher readily available in every home.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters are a leading cause of home fires during December, January, and February. They are intended to augment central heating in specific areas of a residence.

The misuse of generators is also a significant concern. They should be operated outdoors, at least 20 feet away from windows, doors, and garages, to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Only heavy-duty extension cords should connect appliances to generators. Additionally, generators need to be dry and weather-protected.

In late 2023, carbon monoxide poisoning led to six fatalities and one critical injury in Missouri, stemming from indoor generator usage for appliance operation.

Share To Your Social Network