It’s that time of year - leaves in various shades of orange and red floating down from the trees, hints of cinnamon in daily fragrances, and the cool, crisp air that instantly creates a craving for a warm drink. The moment you tuck your sandals in the back of your closet provokes a season of all things pumpkin spice (#pumkineverything) – including those yummy lattes that warm your soul at first sip.
As scarves and sweaters make their seasonal debut, space heaters also get dragged out of storage. Though they provide the warmth even your coziest blanket can’t achieve, space heaters can ignite some serious danger when they’re mishandled. According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), 17% of all winter fires can be attributed to space heater accidents.
While we want you to cozy up in a perfectly heated room with a pumpkin spice latte in hand, we also want to make sure you’re as safe as possible this winter season. Here’s a couple of tips to make sure your biggest worry this winter is choosing what size latte you want to drink instead of putting out flames.
There are a few rules you should follow when using a space heater to keep you and everyone around you safe… so sit back, sip that latte, and read on!
1. If you’re not actively using it for warmth in the room you’re physically in, turn your space heater off (or even better, completely unplug it). Just like you’d never leave a small child alone, you should never leave your space heater running by itself and unattended. Think of it as a small child and make sure it’s under your supervision at all times!
2. To avoid getting burned, make an imaginary 3-foot space bubble around your space heater. This will make sure it’s far enough away from any flammable materials like furniture or aerosol cans. Three feet may seem like an exaggerated distance, but the right combination of heat and bad luck can cause fires or worse – huge explosions.
3. Never, under any circumstances, suffocate your heater! Accidents can happen, but you can proactively eliminate any chance of disaster with the right placement of your space heater. Got cold feet? Invest in some slippers or thick wool socks, because placing your space heater under your desk or in any small, enclosed area can create a serious safety hazard.
4. Not many people enjoy the shrill shriek of fire alarms, but where there’s smoke there’s fire – and the slightest hint of smoke can set off the noise to save your life. Even if your only interaction with your smoke alarm has been to change the battery when you hear that annoying chirping sound, make sure your fire alarms are in working condition in the event things go up in smoke. We recommend a quick test once per month – better safe than sorry!
5. Before you plug your space heater in, take a look at the entire cord before you reach the outlet. If you see signs of wear that remind you of that old sweater you know you should stop wearing but just can’t get rid of, don’t plug it into the wall. In addition to the cord showing no signs of damage or fraying, eliminate placing the cord in high traffic areas to avoid slips and trips that cause electrical havoc. Lastly, you should only plug your heater directly into the wall – surge protectors are convenient, but save that lineup for the plugs that power up football season.
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