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Using a space heater? Use it safely.

Are you trying to save money by not running your central heating system? Maybe if you just plug in that space heater and let it run...

Here are some statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:
*More than 25,000 residential fires every year are associated with the use of space heaters.
*More than 300 people die in these fires.
*An estimated 6,000 people receive emergency care for burn injuries associated with contacting hot surfaces.

If you are going to use a space heater, here are a few things to remember:

When setting up a space heater, remember to keep it at least 30 inches from any flammable materials and set it up on the floor, unless it is designed otherwise.

Areas where space heaters are used should be free of combustible materials like wood, paper, rags and flammable liquids. Do not set them up on easily ignited or flammable surfaces, such as rugs or carpets. And don't use them to dry wet clothing.

When using a space heater in an enclosed area, it is a good idea to leave a window or door partially open to allow for fresh air to enter. This will prevent carbon monoxide buildup or a depletion of oxygen. Never take a gas-fired or kerosene heater into a confined space. The results could be deadly.

Gas heaters should be equipped with a pilot safety valve. This device will shut off the gas to the heater if the pilot light should go out.

If the pilot light goes out, remember:

If you smell gas, do not attempt to light the pilot. Turn off all controls, open a window or door and leave the area.

Remember that propane is heavier than air and does not dissipate rapidly. If you smell gas, do not touch any electrical switches or use a radio or telephone in the area where you smell gas. Do not smoke. A spark could ignite the gas.

It also is a good idea to light a match before you turn on the gas to the pilot. This avoids the risk of flashback, which could occur if gas is allowed to accumulate before lighting the pilot.

Electric heaters should be kept out of wet or moist places like bathrooms. Water or corrosion could lead to a fire or shock hazard.

All gas and kerosene heaters should be inspected annually by a qualified person to ensure that they are properly adjusted and clean.