“The weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful”…well not all of us have a fire place but a space heater will make due. Supplemental heating, such a space heaters, is the leading cause of home fires from December through February. To help avoid a home fire and a homeowners insurance claim, keep these tips in mind this winter:

·         Do not use space heaters to warm bedding, cook food, thaw pipes or dry clothing. These tasks can present major fire and burn risks.
·         Only use space heaters with the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) safety mark. The UL mark signifies that the product was tested for potential safety hazards. Also, purchase units that have automatic shut-off features and heating element guards.
·         Keep sources of fire at least 3 feet away from the heater, including drapery, clothing and bedding.
·         Turn off space heaters when leaving the room and going to sleep.
·         Always supervise children and pets around heaters to prevent burn injuries.
·         Periodically check for frayed insulation, broken wires and overheating. Have your space heater serviced immediately if you notice any of these problems.
·         Avoid using extension cords with space heaters. If you must do so, make sure that the cord is the right gauge size and type for the heater.