Heating and Space Heater Safety: Stay Warm and Danger-Free in the Pacific Northwest

The Pacific Northwest and other states are in the middle of the year's colder months. As winter has set in, Americans may relieve the cold by cozying up to a space heater. However, doing so could bring dangerous consequences as space heaters are most often responsible for home heating equipment fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). 

In a 2022 NFPA report, an average of 45,800 home heating fires occurred each year between 2015 and 2019, resulting in 480 deaths, 1,350 injuries, and $1 billion in property damage.

Locally, in Washington State, from 2018 to 2022, 4,392 fire events racked up over $36 million in damage from heating, including both central and portable heating units. 

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Tips on Staying Safe with Space Heaters

When it comes to heating, you can stay warm and safe by following these steps from Washington's Fire Marshal's Office.

  • Regularly inspect furnaces and have them serviced by professionals. 
  • Keep items that can burn at least three feet from a furnace, fireplace, or space heater. 
  • If you smell natural or propane gas, leave the building and call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Make sure your space heaters are turned off when you leave the room or go to bed. 
  • Buy and use space heaters that shut off automatically when tipped over.
  • Never power space heaters with extension cords or power strips.
  • Do not plug anything else into the same circuit as the one used for a space heater.
  • Make sure space heaters are placed on a solid and flat surface.

Important: 12 Tips To Stay Safe Using Your Fireplace and Chimney

There's nothing quite like a lit fireplace: the warmth, light, smell, and sound of crackling wood transcends time and takes us back to a simpler time. It's the spirit of hygge. But lighting a fire in your home comes with a lot of dangers. Before you light your fireplace, review these safety tips from the Washington State Fire Marshal.

Gallery Credit: Jaime Skelton

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