Use Space Heaters Responsibly During the Winter Months
North Carolinians are fortunate to benefit from relatively moderate temperatures during the winter months, but the state climate is hardly tropical. During cold weather, residents must turn to their furnaces to stay warm. Particularly on warmer days, however, many people may choose to use space heaters to avoid making costly furnace repairs.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters accounted for one-third of home heating fires and about four-fifths of home heating fire deaths between 2007 and 2011. Clearly, it is not surprising that the Charlotte personal injury lawyers at our firm have seen the injuries caused by improperly-used or malfunctioning space heaters. Please review the following tips to remain safe this winter.
Space Heaters Should Not be Used to Replace Central Heating Systems
Anything that generates heat needs to be monitored for safety. As such, space heaters are a poor choice for people who want to stay warm while they sleep — or to heat multiple rooms in a home to keep occupants comfortable as they move about during the day.
Please observe the following precautions to stay safe while using these potentially-dangerous devices:
- Maintain and repair central heating systems: First and foremost, try to keep the central system in good working order, and do not avoid repairs by turning to space heaters.
- Carefully monitor space heaters in use: Space heaters are a good way to add an extra boost of heat to a room during the day, but someone must remain in the room — and be awake — as long as the heater is active.
- Keep flammable items away from space heaters: Most homes contain a long list of flammable items, which includes mattresses, bedding, clothing, upholstered furniture and, of course, paper. Think carefully when positioning a space heater, even for temporary, casual use.
- Turn to blankets and warm clothing in a heating emergency: It may be inconvenient at times, but building occupants can remain warm enough by adding extra layers to their wearing apparel or wrapping themselves in blankets until a furnace repair technician arrives.
Do Not Expect a Space Heater to Operate Safely – Be Careful
Even individuals who follow every safety precaution can become fire victims when their space heaters malfunction. Cords can and do overheat, and the switches designed to shut units off when tipped can fail to operate. Additionally, even newly-purchased gas-fueled heaters can have leaks or other issues right out of the box.
North Carolina product liability law can hold space heater manufacturers and other parties liable when defects in their products cause injuries. While the causes of these injuries are not always immediately clear, it makes sense to schedule a free legal consultation when there is any suspicion that the accident was caused by negligence.