Safety Quiz

 In Tip of the Week, Uncategorized
What’s wrong in this picture?
Obviously, this is a multi-plug adapter that caught fire.  What you can’t tell from the picture is what was plugged into the adapter, causing it to catch fire.  We know – it was a space heater.  And this time of year, it is a commonly used appliance in homes and offices.
We were not able to determine the story behind this picture, other than that there had been a space heater plugged into it.  But we can tell you some facts about space heaters and use of heating appliances in general.
1.  Space heaters and other heating appliances are potential fire hazards!  More residential fires occur in December, January and February than the rest of the year. Heating appliances are the second leading cause of those fires and the first leading cause of home fire fatalities, per the NFPA.
2.  A space heater that is 120 volts and 1500 watts can generate up to 5,100 BTUs of heat.  The Department of Energy webpage on Space Heaters recommends, “Electric heaters should be plugged directly into the wall outlet.  If an extension cord is necessary, use the shortest possible heavy-duty cord of 14-gauge wire or larger.”  This might be a possible explanation for our picture today.
3.  Always use a space heater that is clearly marked with approval by Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM).  Unless you know that it is approved by a testing laboratory, it is difficult to verify that it contains safety features to prevent fires, electrical shorts, etc.
4.  Space heaters are required by fire codes to be kept at least three feet away from things that might burn.  The NFPA estimates that 43% of all home fires are caused by portable and stationary space heaters.
5.  Space heaters should always be turned off at the end of the day.  This means in the work place they must be turned off and unplugged when you go home, and at home, they must be unplugged and turned off when you go to bed.  SCM recommends you take it one step further – put the unit on a timer.  Humans make mistakes.  So put the unit on a timer and let it do the work for you.
SCM Highlights
 
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