With plans to deliver portable space heaters and hotplates to customers impacted by Merrimack Valley gas explosion, NFPA provides safety tips for using these devices

September 21, 2018 – In response to reports today that 24,000 portable space heaters and 7,000 hotplates will be delivered to customers impacted by the recent Merrimack Valley gas explosion, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is reminding the public to keep fire safety in mind.

“Everyone should always be vigilant about fire safety. As Governor Baker and Columbia Gas work to proactively meet the needs of Massachusetts residents, we want to make sure portable space heaters and hotplates are used with the appropriate care,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy.

“By following some basic safety tips and guidelines, everyone can safely use these devices to temporarily heat their homes and cook meals,” said Carli.

NFPA offers these guidelines for using portable space heaters and hotplates safely:

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three-feet away from portable space heaters and hotplates.
  • Only use hotplates on a kitchen countertop; make sure the area is clear of towels, oven mitts, paper towels, napkins, mail, and other combustibles.
  • Create a three-foot “kid-free zone” around space heaters and the cooking area.
  • Never leave portable space heaters or hotplates unattended while in use.
  • Turn off hotplates when not in use.
  • Turn off portable heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.

NFPA also reminds everyone to make sure their homes’ are fully equipped with working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms, noting that smoke alarms do not detect carbon monoxide (CO).

“Working smoke alarms and CO alarms play a critical role in keeping people safe by alerting them early, giving them time to escape quickly and safely,” said Carli.

According to NFPA, there should be at least one smoke alarm and CO alarm on every level of the home and near all sleeping areas; a smoke alarm should also be installed in every bedroom. Test smoke alarms and CO alarms monthly to make sure they’re working. If the alarm does not function properly, replace the batteries. If it still doesn’t operate, it’s time to replace the alarm.

Carli also urges people to take sounding alarms seriously. “If your smoke alarm or CO alarm sounds, get out immediately and call 911 from a cell phone or neighbor’s home.”

For more fire safety tips and advice from NFPA, visit www.nfpa.org/heating and www.nfpa.org/cooking.

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global, nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information, visit www.nfpa.org. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.