As an arctic front moves in to North Carolina today, Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey is leading the charge to prevent fire deaths in 2019 by reminding residents of the dangers associated with space heaters.
2018 was the deadliest year on record for fire deaths in North Carolina; 134 people lost their lives because of fire — 50 more people from the year before.
On January 17, 2019, State Fire Marshal Causey, along with the Charlotte Fire Department, organized a live fire demonstration to show how dangerous electrical heaters can be when not used correctly.
The first demonstration showed the dangers of overloading an electrical outlet by plugging in a heater to a source such as a drop cord. The second demonstration showed how quickly a home fire can ignite when a heater gets too close to any combustible objects.
“You’ll see from this demonstration that within 30 seconds to one minute, you can have a whole room engulfed in flames,” said Commissioner Causey. “Portable space heaters are a popular choice to help people warm up their homes but it’s absolutely important to make sure you use them safely.”
Commissioner Causey recommends you follow these tips and recommendations to prevent home fires caused by electrical heaters:
Purchase a heater with the seal of a qualified testing laboratory.
Keep the heater at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn, including people.
Choose a heater with a thermostat and overheat protection.
Place the heater on a solid, flat surface.
Make sure your heater has an auto shut-off to turn the heater off if it tips over.
Keep children away from the space heater.
Plug the heater directly into the wall outlet. Never use an extension cord.
For more information about fire prevention and safety, visit the North Carolina Department of Insurance Office of State Fire Marshalor National Fire Protection Association.