Space heaters pose deadly fire hazard during winter | Bart Durham Injury Law

Space heaters pose deadly fire hazard during winter

Adequately heating a spacious Nashville home may require the addition of a portable space heater during the winter months. While these devices are used to create a warm and welcoming environment within the home, they are also known to cause the most fire deaths during winter.

USA Today highlights the dangers posed by space heaters in the home via a report conducted by the National Fire Protection Association. Of all heating-related fire deaths taking place in winter, space heaters are implicated in up to 80 percent of these incidences. Additionally, use of space heaters in the home is cited in half of all heating-related property damage, as well as 70 percent of injuries involving fire throughout the winter.

One major issue in space heater death and injury is the perception of safety that many people hold towards these devices. The lack of visible flames leads people to engage in dangerous behaviors they wouldn’t normally, such as leaving combustible items (clothing, paper products, etc.) in close proximity to a space heater. Space heaters are also commonly used overnight as temperatures decrease, and in this case sleeping families are unable to act swiftly when a fire does break out. 

While user error can play a role in injuries caused by space heater use, defective or faulty components are also a factor. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a space heater manufactured by Vornado was recalled in 2014 due to a risk of overheating that subsequently melted components of the heater. Seven heaters actually caught fire, and in two cases reports of smoke inhalation and property damage were received. The commission also lists a number of other recalls involving space heaters in recent years, including those posing an electrocution risk in addition to the threat of fire.


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