As winter begins taking effect, the use of space heaters and other portable heating units increases. While space heaters are quite common, they can also be very dangerous.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), portable space heaters accounted for 32% of house fires in the US. Additionally, 79% of all home heating fire deaths were attributed to space heaters.
In 2010 alone, home heating equipment was involved in an estimated 57,000+ structure fires, causing 490 deaths, 1,530 injuries, and $1.1 billion in direct property damage. In 2011 there were 53,600 structural fires throughout the country related to heating units. Out of those fires a total of 400 people lost their lives, 1,520 people suffered injuries, and the property damage was estimated at $893 million.
Causes of Space Heater Fires
While many fires can be attributed to unsafe operation, one major problem associated with portable heating units is negligent design.
in April of 2014, Dyson recalled two models of bladeless electrical heaters after they recieved 82 reports of short-circuiting, overheating, and/or having burned or melted internal parts. Many more manufacturers have issued similar recalls int he past few years, including Optimus, Vornado, Lifesmart, Sunbeam, Texsport, Meijer, Twin-Star, Duraflame, Soleil, Kenmore, Atico, and more.
According to safety standards, there should be a 36 inch radius surrounding a space heater, but in most cases people don’t give a second thought to any potential danger.
Reducing the Danger
The most important step in reducing the fire danger from space heaters and other portable heaters is simply to not use them. Even if an individual follows all the safety precautions, a negligently designed space heater can still put you and your family’s lives at risk.
While some higher-priced models have various safety features (such as automatic shut off on tip over), most do not. Even if a defective space heater has been recalled, most consumers are never notified. If you simply must use a space heater, please do your research. Find out of the item has been recalled, read and follow the safety instructions very carefully, and always treat a space heater as an open flame.
If you or a family member has suffered burns or other injuries due to a defective space heater, you may be able to recover 100% of your damages and losses through a product liability claim. To discuss your potential claim with an attorney (for free) today, call 1-877-659-2580.