A Brief Fire Safety PSA: Use Heaters Safely!

Myersville House Fire on 1/31/2013
Myersville House Fire on 1/31/2013

On January 31st of this year, the Town of Myersville in Frederick County, MD experienced a horrible loss. Two young girls had perished in a house fire that, based on reports from neighbors, “moved faster than anything they have ever seen”. It was recently determined that the cause of the fire, along with a fire in Accokeek in Prince George’s County, MD was the result of a baseboard heater.

If used properly, baseboard heaters are considered a safe way to heat a room. However, combustible materials coming within inches of the heating elements is considered an extreme danger. We wanted to use the story out of Myersville to draw attention to the possible danger of improperly using space heaters.  We at CJPVFD recommend that you read the directions of any heater and follow all warning associated with using heaters.

Some general tips with any non-fixed heater include:

  • Any heater that can be knocked over should be equipped with a circuit that turns off the heater in the event it is knocked over.
  • Heaters should have self timers or thermostats that prevent the heater from running too long.
  • Heaters should have guards over the elements to prevent combustibles from contacting the elements, and those guards should not be removed.
  • If your heater uses fuel, you should only ever use the type of fuel recommended in the instruction manual.
  • Most heaters are designated as either indoor or outdoor, and only should be used as such.

On top of these recommendations, we also recommend that you make sure you have working smoke detectors and check them monthly!

Please watch this clip from NBC4. It has some good safety tips from Mark Brady, Prince George’s County Fire Department’s Public Information Officer.