ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Space Heater Safety: Public and Private Sectors Team to Educate Consumers

New York, Dec 04, 2007

With many parts of the country currently experiencing the first flakes of winter’s snow, consumers are turning to space heaters to stay warm. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer, has teamed with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) to educate consumers about the proper usage and maintenance of their home heating equipment.

Today’s NFPA/CPSC/USFA joint press conference emphasized vigilance and caution when using space heaters. According to an NFPA report that was also released today, nearly half of all home fires occur in the winter months when home heating equipment is most likely to be in use.

“Heating a home to a comfortable temperature is something we would like everyone to be able to accomplish without it resulting in a tragic fire,” said CPSC acting chair Nancy Nord. “It is important that heating equipment is properly used and maintained. Fires often start when heaters are left too close to things that can burn. Consumers can protect themselves by making sure that space heaters or other equipment are not too close to clothing, mattresses, bedding, cushioned furniture or other things that might ignite.”

Several safety tips can help keep consumers safe from home heating fires this winter:

  • Keep all flammable items at least three feet away from heating equipment.
  • Turn portable heaters off when you go to bed or leave the room.
  • Plug power cords only into outlets with sufficient capacity and never into an extension cord.
  • Inspect equipment for cracked, frayed or broken plugs or loose connections.
  • Conduct yearly chimney inspections and clean as necessary.
  • Allow fireplace ashes to cool before disposing in a metal container.
  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.
  • Never use an oven for heat.

For more information, visit NFPA’s website to view their press release and read a heating equipment fact sheet, or contact

See related article: “Consumers Warned of Furnace, Space Heater and Fireplace Hazards

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