Use Caution When Using a Space Heater This Winter

During the cold, winter months, when your home isn’t always as warm as you would like it to be, electric space heaters might seem like a convenient way of raising the temperature inside for you and your family.

ThinkstockPhotos-521707503When used appropriately, space heaters can be a reliable source of supplemental heat for your home or workplace. Unfortunately for many, space heaters are used improperly or as a primary source of heat. When used under these conditions, space heaters can become dangerous. In fact, they are responsible for approximately one-third of all winter house fires and 80 percent of all winter heating fire deaths.

To ensure you are using a space heater the right way, follow these simple safety tips:

• Read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels carefully before operating your space heater.
• Make sure your space heater is assembled correctly. Look for cracks in the unit or loose or frayed wire or plugs.
• Only use your space heater as a heating device. Do not attempt to use it to warm bedding, cook food or dry clothing.
• Space heaters must be kept a safe distance away from anything that can burn, including newspapers, magazines, clothing, curtains or rugs.
• Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when you’re leaving a room or going to sleep.
• Be sure to install smoke alarms on every floor of your home and outside all sleeping areas and test them once a month.
• Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Do not use extension cords or power strips, which can overheat and result in a fire. Do not plug other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.
• Space heaters should always be positioned on a level surface. Never place heaters on furniture or uneven flooring.

Failure to comply with these recommendations can result in serious injury or even death.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center urges everyone to be smart when using space heaters this winter season.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.