Space heater checklist: Gathering safely in the warmth of your home

While Northeast Florida is getting its first bit of cold weather this season this week… Many people are pulling out the blankets, space heaters and lighting the fireplace. News4Jax Reporter Brittany Muller joins us live.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As people in Northeast Florida wake up to the first freeze of the 2020 Winter season, officials urge chilly residents to be careful with heating devices, such as space heaters.

Jacksonville Fire-Rescue Department shared a video of flames and heavy smoke pouring out of a New Town Home. JFRD believes the blaze was sparked by a space heater. That fire injured four First Responders. All were treated for non-serious injuries.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, between 2008 and 2010 there were nearly 1,200 fires caused by portable electric heaters each year.

The commission says the heaters have the potential to ignite when placed near combustible items, such as curtains and sofas.

The CPSC says the following safety guidelines should always be followed when using space heaters:

  • Never leave the heater on while unattended or while you’re sleeping.
  • Never power on the device while using an extension cable or power strip.
  • Make sure the heater is placed on a stable, level surface where it cannot be knocked over. Be sure to keep other household items at least three feet away from the unit.

The National Fire Safety Prevention Agency says chimneys are another source of house fires. According to the association, failure to properly clean chimneys after fires is a contributing factor in more than 27% of home fires caused by heating. The association says heating equipment led to 490 deaths, 1,400 injuries, and nearly $1 billion in direct property damage during a 4-year span.

About the Author:

Multi-media journalist with a special interest in Georgia issues.