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CPSC Issues Space Heater Safety Advice in Response to Bitter Cold across the Country

In the colder winter months, many New York residents turn to space heaters in an effort to keep their homes warm and their utility bills down. While potentially useful, space heaters are also capable of causing serious injury and extensive damage to property. Sometimes these accidents occur because of user error or carelessness, but other times they occur because of negligent manufacture or design or a manufacturer’s failure to warn about an inherent hazard. People who are injured by a malfunctioning space heater may be able to recover for their losses by bringing a legal claim against the party responsible for the malfunction. Anyone who believes that they have been injured in a space heater accident caused by negligence should consult with a Westchester personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that space heaters were responsible for around 1,200 fires per year between 2008 and 2010. In an effort to reduce the risk posed by space heaters, the agency has provided consumers with safety information regarding their operation. The safety tips provided include:

  • Never use a space heater that you suspect has been damaged.
  • Keep any materials that may catch fire at least 3 feet from any surface of a space heater. Flammable materials can include household items such as beds, sofas, curtains, papers, and clothes.
  • Make sure that that a space heater’s plug fits securely into its outlet. If it does not, do not use the heater.
  • While a heater is in use, frequently check to see if the cord or outlet is getting hot. If either is, discontinue use immediately.
  • Make sure that your space heater has been tested to the most recent safety standards and that it has been certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
  • Place space heaters on flat, level, nonflammable surfaces.
  • Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
  • Never leave a space heater on while you sleep.
  • Turn off space heaters if you are leaving the area.


Unfortunately, even the most careful user cannot prevent against accidents that are due to negligent manufacture. Some of the kinds of space heater issues that may implicate negligence on the part of a manufacturer are:

  • Fires caused by overheating
  • Explosions
  • Frayed cords
  • Space heaters that fall over
  • Space heaters that cause burns
  • Faulty auto shut-off mechanisms
  • Inadequate testing

After a space heater accident, it is important that consumers record as much information about the incident as possible. Note the serial number of the unit, the manufacturer, and where the unit was purchased, if you remember. In addition, take pictures of the aftermath of the incident. Finally, if anyone was injured by the space heater, be certain that victims seek medical attention for their injuries as soon as possible.

Contact a Westchester personal injury lawyer today

Space heater accidents have the potential to cause significant bodily injury as well as extensive property damage. As a result, victims may be entitled to substantial financial compensation. The first step to making sure you get the compensation you deserve is to consult with an experienced Westchester personal injury lawyer. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call Lynch Schwab today at (914) 304-4353. If you would prefer to reach us online, please fill out our online contact form available here.

Posted on February 12, 2014 in Personal Injury