AAA Offers Safety Tips On Heating Devices As Temperatures Drop

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – With both North and South Carolina under an extreme cold front, AAA Carolinas is warning of the potential for danger when it comes to space heaters and portable heaters.

“We are looking at several days where the temperature is going to stay very low,” said Jim McCafferty, president of AAA Carolinas Insurance. “Understandably, people are going to be using space heaters to keep their homes warm, we just want them to do so with caution as these devices can be deadly if mishandled.”

An estimated 25,000 portable heater fires in residential buildings are reported in the U.S. each year causing 300 deaths and 6,000 burn injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

For residents planning to bring out their space heaters this winter, AAA Carolinas, in conjunction with FEMA, reminds:

  • Always turn space heaters off when you go to sleep or leave the house.
  • Keep anything flammable at least three feet away (blankets, sheets, clothing, rugs, etc.) – as this is the leading cause of house fires ignited by heaters.
  • Be wary of broken or loose cords or damaged outlets. Never plug a heater into an extension cord but rather directly into the wall.
  • Invest with a portable heater that automatically shuts off if it were to overturn.
  • Always have a working smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector in your home. Check them regularly to ensure the battery works.
  • Place space heaters on a level, flat surface. Never on cabinets, tables or other furniture.
  • Only shop for and buy space heaters that have a laboratory tested stamp of approval for safety on them.

“We hope that all Carolinians are staying warm this winter – but please do so responsibly,” added McCafferty.

Many people also use electric blankets to keep warm during cold winter nights. AAA Carolinas offers the following safety tips for electric blankets:

  • Before plugging in electric blankets, check for any damage and inspect cord for frays or cracks.
  • Don’t tuck electric blankets under the mattress.
  • Never place anything on top of the blanket while it’s in use, including comforters and bedspreads.
  • Don’t allow pets to sleep on the electric blanket.