N.B.F.U. Warns Against Portable Heaters
Many deaths in fires resulting from the operation of portable oil heaters already have occurred this winter, and many more will occur unless people use greater care and caution, the National Board of Fire Underwriters warns. The danger is greatest during cold weather, but householders in many parts of the country will continue to use the heaters until Spring.
Good design and substantial construction are the first essentials for safety. These can best be obtained by providing a heater that has been examined and listed by Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.
For greater care and caution in the operation of oil heaters, the National Board’s engineers suggest the following safety rules:
- Thoroughly inspect and clean the heater before putting it into operation for the first time.
- Keep it clean and free of dirt at all times.
- Never place the heater near curtains, tablecloths, or other hanging material.
- Never place it where it can be knocked over. Many fires have resulted when heaters were placed in line of traffic in the home or were knocked over by children at play.
- Never fill the heater while it is lighted.
- Don’t operate the heater in a closed room. See that a door or window is open slightly to assure a good oxygen supply. This is essential even in the coldest weather.
- Don’t leave the heater unattended when it is first lighted. Watch the flame and adjust it so it produces no smoke.
- When refilling the heater with oil, take it outside the building. Keep the fuel supply outside.
- See that the latch holding the top part of the heater to the lower part holds the two parts of the heater together securely.
Portable heater tragedies can be caused in the following manners:
Rapid burning of soot accumulations which results in a “flash flame” resembling an explosion;
Ignition of hot kerosene vapors resulting from spillage when refilling a hot heater;
Heater upset, or spilling of fuel due to faulty latch;
Heater igniting nearby curtains or upholstery;
Asphyxiation caused by exhaustion of oxygen supply in a closed room; the heater also produces quantities of carbon monoxide, a deadly flammable gas, when the oxygen supply in a room becomes depleted.
The rules suggested above will prevent fires and poisonings from these causes.