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Fire Safety: Take Care Using Space Heaters

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With high tech devices, Manchester firefighters showed how portable space heaters can dangerously and quickly heat up as well as the improper extension cords they were plugged into for a demonstration.

“We want to keep people safe. We want to keep people warm. But we want to do it right,” said James Jennings, Manchester’s fire marshal.

Every winter Manchester firefighters respond to problems caused by portable space heaters.

A deadly house fire in Coventry was caused by the failure of an extension cord that was plugged into a space heater, according to fire officials in that town.

Jennings said the one of the first things you should do before starting the heater it to inspect its power cord.

“Make sure the cord hasn’t been pinched. Make sure the cord hasn’t been frayed. There are not cuts in the cord. You want to look at your plugs to make sure there is no sparking or arching,” said Jennings.

Next, plug the machine directly into the power outlet.

Many extension cords aren’t up to the task and will actually degrade as they heat up potentially leading to problems.

And while the heater is running keep it at least three feet away from anything that could easily catch on fire.

“Papers, cotton, any type of fabrics, blankets, afghans, things like that,” said Jennings.

Finally, don’t leave it unattended, even just for a minute.

“That’s something as simple as dropping your newspaper next to your chair and going to get a drink of water from the refrigerator and by the time you get back this paper could be on fire,” said Jennings.

The fire marshal urges people to read the heater’s instruction manual carefully.

And if a fire does break out, get out of your home and call for help.

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