Oregon firefighters issued an urgent alert to warn people to never make one common mistake again.
Although autumn can be wet and warm, what remains a fact is that very soon, the weather will get much colder, so the beginning of the space heater season is inevitable.
This is why Oregon firefighters decided to emphasize the importance of one safety tip- Never plug your space heater into a power strip.
In a Facebook post last year, Umatilla County Fire District #1 in Hermiston, Oregon, wrote:
“The weather is getting colder, and people are pulling out their space heaters. We just wanted to remind you that you should NEVER plug a heater into a power strip. These units are not designed to handle the high current flow needed for a space heater and can overheat or even catch fire due to the added energy flow. Please share and stay safe this Winter season.”
The post went viral, with a large number of people admitting they were unaware of the dangers this practice can bring about.
After a house caught fire as a result of the misuse of the space heater, the Toledo Fire Department in Ohio issued a similar statement. We need to know how to properly use space heaters, as they can reach up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit.
Follow these tips:
- Place heaters on level, flat surfaces, and never on tables, carpets, furniture, or cabinets
- Always plug it into a wall unit, and never into a power strip
- Keep a minimum of three feet of space around it
- Do not turn it on while sleeping or while you are in another room- when in use, always keep an eye on it
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, portable electric space heaters cause 1,200 fires annually.
Yet, the Oregon firefighters explained that there is nothing wrong with these heaters, but one has to know how to safely use them:
“The point comes down to proper use. Even the best equipment can fail if not used correctly. No one manufacturer is at fault, yet it’s all about the end user’s ability to use the product safely.”
To prevent electrical fires at home, make sure you:
- keep all heat-producing appliances, such as heaters, kettles, hairstyling tools, unplugged when you do not use them.
- Extension cords are meant for temporary use only
- Never use a damaged power cord
- Update the two-pronged outlets at home with a third prong
- Install smoke detectors in all rooms
- Call an electrician to come to your place and check the electrical system. If it is an old one, it might need to be upgraded.
- Read the manuals well and follow the appliance directions
These are the signs that reveal that an appliance is overheating or the socket it is plugged into has been somehow damaged:
- The appliance, power cord, or outlet is hot to the touch
- Burning smell while the appliance is in use
- Burn marks or discoloration around a socket or light fixture
- A frequently tripping breaker or fuse
- Every time you plug the appliance in, there are electrical sparks or shock
- Flickering light even after the bulb is replaced