Tips for Using Portable Heaters

newarkfire2.jpgThis time of year, many fires in cities like Newark are caused by portable space heaters.

This morning, a fire destroyed a row of apartments on Bloomfield Avenue in the Central Ward. Thankfully, everyone was able to get out safely. The families lost all their possessions. For more information about the fire, watch CBS2 News.

We are working with the principal of the McKinley School to help get the word out to everyone who wants to assist these families in getting back on their feet. Click here to learn how you can help.

While we don't yet know the cause of the blaze, this is a good time to reinforce safety tips for those who use portable space heaters.

First and most importantly, make sure your smoke and/or carbon monoxide detector in your home is in good working order. If you haven't change the batteries since the start of baseball season, do so now!

Do not overload circuits. Never use extension cords or multiple plugs with a space heater, and make sure the unit is not plugged into the same circuit as other electric appliances.

Never operate a heater you suspect is damaged. Before use, inspect the heater, cord, and plug for damage. Follow all operation and maintenance instructions.

Never leave the heater operating while unattended, or while you are sleeping.

Keep combustible material such as beds, sofas, curtains, papers, and clothes at least 3 feet (0.9 m) from the front, sides, and rear of the heater.

Be sure the heater plug fits tightly into the wall outlet. If not, do not use the outlet to power the heater.

During use, check frequently to determine if the heater plug or cord, wall outlet, or faceplate is hot! If the plug, outlet, or faceplate is hot, discontinue use of the heater, and have a qualified electrician check and/or replace the plug or faulty wall outlet(s). If the cord is hot, disconnect the heater, and have it inspected/repaired by an authorized repair person.

Insure that the heater is placed on a stable, level surface, and located where it will not be knocked over.

Never run the heater’s cord under rugs or carpeting. This can damage the cord, causing it and nearby objects to burn.

To prevent electrical shocks and electrocutions, always keep electric heaters away from water, and never touch an electric heater if you are wet.

Purchase only space heaters that have been safety tested and UL approved. Make sure the unit is equipped with an emergency tip-over shut-off feature and heating element guards.

If your lease requires your landlord to provide heat, state law requires that from Oct. 1 to May 1, your apartment must be heated to at least 68 degrees from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and at least 65 between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

If you have a complaint about a lack of heat in your Newark apartment, call the city's No-Heat Hotline at 973-733-6471.

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