By: Justin Pryor
A report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates space heaters are responsible for 22,000 home fires every year. With cold weather moving into Columbia, there are some things to consider when buying a space heater.
Do not throw away the instructions. This is the first mistake many people make according to Mark Sanders, a volunteer firefighter and Lowe's salesman.
"You don't want to put it ten feet from furniture or curtains, and definitely don't want to put it in your bedroom," said Sanders.
The Columbia Fire Department says half of all fire deaths are because of placing the heaters to close to curtains.
Other safety tips include:
-If possible, do not use extension cords
-Never leave the heater unattended
-Make sure there is a guard over the heating element
-Look for a heater listed with a nationally recognized laboratory testing
Sanders recommends using ceramic electric heaters that have the best safety features like auto-shutoff when the heater reaches a certain temperature or if the heater tips over.
More information on heater safety and fire prevention tips can be found at the National Fire Protection Association's web site.