Space Heater Safety
A horrible fire occurred January 9th, 2022 in an apartment complex in the Bronx. It was determined to be caused by a space heater. The fire killed 19 people and left many in critical condition. Like so many devastating fires over the years, some fire prevention practices could have prevented this tragedy. We want to educate our residents on some important considerations to follow in our homes or when staying away from home.
First space heaters are intended to augment heat in living spaces and should only be used when the space is occupied and monitored. By monitoring we mean spaced 3′ from anything that could burn. Make sure the heater is in good condition and is UL approved. Make sure it is the proper rating for the circuit it’s plugged into (no extension cords) and the cord is not damaged. Everyone in the home needs to be aware of this.
Second we want to make sure that should you experience a fire, close the door to the room on fire and the apartment door or outside door on the way out. This can buy time for anyone in the building to escape without succumbing to deadly smoke and gasses that build up rapidly and without warning. If your apartment has enclosed stairways for exiting the building, make sure the doors are not propped open or have fire-safe door closers installed in case of a fire. Any open stairway can be a speedy path for smoke to spread rapidly to upper floors and hallways.
Last but not least, make sure you have working smoke detectors installed on each floor and in hallways near bedrooms. Don’t forget to have carbon monoxide detectors installed as well for fuel burning appliances and homes with an attached garage. Test them regularly and make sure everyone knows how to exit in case of a fire and where to meet outside. We thank all those who take fire prevention seriously and help keep these disasters from happening.
For more space heater safety tips and other fire safety resources, we invite you to visit the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) website.