NB Fire Marshal: Safety Takes Priority When Using Space Heaters
As many people turn to portable space heaters to supplement their heat during cold winter months, the New Brunswick Department of Justice and Public Safety reminds owners of these devices to ensure they are used safely and properly.
Justice and Public Safety Minister Denis Landry says portable space heaters pose significant risks of fire and electric shock if not used properly, leading to possible property destruction, injury or death. According to the Office of the Fire Marshal, an average of 50 fires a year are associated with the use of portable space heaters.
Fire and electrical hazards can be caused by space heaters without adequate safety features, devices placed near combustibles, or space heaters that are not plugged in properly.
The Office of the Fire Marshal provides the following advice:
- When purchasing a space heater, choose one that automatically shuts off if it upsets.
- Make sure your space heater has a label showing it is approved by a recognized testing laboratory (CSA, ULC, ETL, etc.).
- Before using any space heater, read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels carefully.
- Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and result in a fire. Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.
- Inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections before each use. If frayed, worn or damaged, do not use the heater.
- Never leave a space heater unattended. Unplug it when you are leaving a room or going to sleep, and do not let pets or children play near a space heater.
- Space heaters are only meant to provide supplemental heat and should never be used to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing or thaw pipes.
- Proper placement of space heaters is critical. Heaters must be kept at least one metre from anything that can burn, including papers, clothing and rugs.
- Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture, or carpet, which can overheat and start a fire.
- Always unplug and safely store the heater when it is not in use.
The Office of the Fire Marshal urges New Brunswickers to ensure their home is always protected by having a working smoke alarm installed on each floor, including the basement, outside all sleeping areas and inside bedrooms.
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