Space heaters need space. That's a key message from the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the United States Fire Administration (USFA).
Space heaters annually account for one-third of reported U.S. home heating fires, and four out of five associated civilian deaths.
Keep things that can burn at least 3 feet away from space heaters, and create a three-foot "kid-free zone" around them. Make sure to use equipment that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory, and have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer's instructions.
For portable electric heaters:
- Place them on a solid, flat surface, away from high traffic areas and doorways.
- Turn them off when you go to bed or leave the room.
- Use and purchase heaters with an automatic shut off so if they're tipped over they will shut off.
- Plug power cords directly into outlets and never into an extension cord.
- Inspect for cracked or damaged, broken plugs or loose connections; replace before using.