Important message for Lafayette-area viewers about FOX59

Take these precautions to safely use your space heater this winter

ZIONSVILLE, Ind. — Cold temperatures are about to hit us hard in central Indiana. If you’re planning on heating your home with a space heater, we have some safety tips for you.

At the Akard True Value in Zionsville, plenty of space heaters are still available, with many different options. Store manager, Joe Hollingsworth said they haven’t sold many this season, but he’s expecting a rush as cold temperature set in this weekend.

“It’s all personal preference, how much you want to spend, how much air you want it to cover and again, if you want a fan that pushes the air or do you want it to radiate,” Hollingsworth said.

One thing that comes standard on every space heater is protections to make sure the space heater doesn’t catch on fire. That includes automatic shut offs if the unit gets too hot or tips over.

There are important things that homeowners must do to keep their home safe from fire when using a space heater.

According to national statistics from the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters accounted for 40% of home heating fires and 84% of deaths from 2009-2013. Those statistics also show more than half of fire related deaths are due to space heaters being too close to furniture, bedding, clothes or curtains.

“A lot of times you’ll have an outlet right next to a window and someone will place it next to the curtains and that’s not safe. It needs to be a safe distance away,” Hollingsworth said.

Here are additional tips from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security:

  • When buying a new space heater, make sure it carries the mark of an independent testing laboratory and is legal for use in your community.
  • Keep all combustible materials away from portable and space heaters.
  • Place all space heaters at least three feet away from furniture, walls, curtains or anything else that is flammable.
  • Plug your electric-powered space heater into an outlet with sufficient capacity and NEVER into an extension cord.
  • Turn off space heaters whenever the room they are in is unoccupied or under circumstances when manufacturer’s instructions say they should be turned off.
  • Portable space heaters are easy to knock over in the dark, so turn them off when you go to bed.

You can sign up for help with heating assistance in Marion County by clicking here. You can get help in Boone County by clicking here.